Marie Antoinette has been much maligned over the last couple of centuries; but many recent books, most notably Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette (non-fiction) have gone a long way to putting flesh back on to the caricature. Naslund adds value by allowing Marie Antoinette to speak for herself, giving us access to the secret thoughts and feelings (albeit hypothetical) of the young queen - territory that a biographer must be wary of entering. For example, some say that the young Maria Antonia met Mozart when he played the harpsicord for her mother, the Empress of Austria, and that afterwards Maria asked him what he would like as a reward, to which he replied her hand in marriage - a prize obviously not available to him due to the stark difference in their social positions. Naslund plays on this theme by having the recurring image of the young Mozart haunt Marie ...
"Naslund has done her homework, and imagined her complex, bewitching protagonist in persuasive depth and detail. The result is an exemplary historical novel." - Kirkus Reviews.
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