Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- How do you think Marie's life differed from most other women of her time? Where would you say she placed her emphasis?
- When Marie visited the Marquis de Sade in the Bastille, she was surprised by the conditions she found there. Were you surprised as well? If so, in what way did those conditions surpass or fall short of your expectations?
- What was the comparison Marie made between the Bastille and Versailles? How would you describe the organization, operations, scent and reality of daily life in each location?
- Who was the Duc D'Orleans and what type of role would you say he played regarding the French revolution? What role would you say he played in the common people's belief regarding the king?
- When the Royal family tried to economize their personal lifestyle and the kingdom's expenses, how did the other nobles respond and why?
- At one point, Marie told her neighbor, and later fiancé, Henri, she didn't agree with Rousseau's philosophy regarding the goodness of man. In what way would you say Marie's philosophy regarding people differed from Rousseau?
- How would you describe the Royal family's knowledge of the way the populace felt about them? Why was this so? What role do you think this knowledge, or lack thereof, played as a catalyst for the revolution?
- How would you describe the king's style of ruling? What factor do you think this played in the people revolting against him? If he'd been a harsher ruler do you think the people would have been more or less likely to revolt and why? By the same token, if he had been a more lenient ruler do you think this would have increased or diminished the likelihood of the revolution?
- What do you think was the king's greatest virtue as a ruler? What was his greatest vice? Which characteristic of his do you think played the greatest role in his ultimately losing his throne and his life?
- What events in Madame Tussaud would you describe as ironic? Can you think of similar things or events that have occurred during your lifetime, whether in this country or elsewhere? If so, how are they similar?
- Marie's brother, Edmund, accused Marie of making matters worse for the Royal family by portraying them through her wax figures in a misleading or lurid way. Do you agree? How did the Salon De Cire's exhibits mirror or differ from the way the French newspapers described the Royal family?
- Would you describe Marie as a Royalist or a revolutionary? Why? If she'd had the ability to do so, at the end of her life what specific things do you think she would have gone back and rectified or done differently?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Broadway Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.