I was searching through Apple’s trailers and I was surprised to see that there’s was yet another film on Marie Antionette. As a history buff I am totally excited! Let’s get real who doesn’t love the pomp and wealth of Rocco France. So instead of judging it to harshly I watched the trailer and saw that it was based off of Chantal Thomas’s international best seller Farewell, my queen. So I gave the book a go and ultimately finished it. The book is told through the eyes of a young woman employed as the Queen’s reader, Sophia Laborge. Twenty years later, Labroge reflects about her time at Versailles and the three days leading up to the fall of Versailles.
I always like to start with the positives when beginning to talk about a book. I thought the language and writing was fantastic. Thomas uses deep and plush descriptions to bring the court of Versailles back from the dead. I thought her interpretation of the oblivious of the nobility to the chaos of the revolution was realistic and quite accurate. Thomas creates a gate to surround the oblivious and crumbling monarchy. I also found it interesting that the choice in narrator. At the beginning it is made quite clear to readers that Laborge’s position in the chateaux is a insignificant role. Yet, she somehow manages to play a big role in the last few days of the French monarchy. She also maintains a high sense of purpose and poise throughout the choas during the fall of the Bastille, and ultimatley the fall of the House of Bourbon.
Yet there are still flaws in the book. Thomas fails to make her characters real and often appear more like dream-like-figures. It seemed to me that Laborge and the court surrounding Marie Antoinette are almost like things out of someone’s imagination. Most characters are given traits, but are never fully developed. Labroge has deep admiration for Antoinette, yet fails to see what is outside of the castles gates. In this respect Thomas does create the euphoria in which the French nobility lived in. Everything sometimes feels as though it is one big dream and nothing is really reality.
Over all the book was pretty good. I don’t think it really changed my life but it was something that was worth reading. If any of you are history buffs this might be a good book for you. I hope to see the movie soon starring Dianne Kruger as the queen.
Rating: 5 ok book not the best