Historical Fiction: Peering Behind the Mask


Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Marie Antoinette, #2)

I am reading DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW, the second novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy about Marie Antoinette, and I am reminded why I love historical fiction.  In this novel, as in all good novels about those who once lived, the author lifts the mask of the departed, and helps us to see the person as they might have been.

I fell in love with Eleanor of Aquitaine, and spent years delving into her psyche, searching for the best way to convey who I believed her to be. As I read Juliet’s latest novel, I find myself drawn into the glittering world of Versailles, but more importantly, into the mind of Marie Antoinette herself. I am able to peer behind her mask, and I find there is more to this woman who I thought I knew.

I’ve been sent this novel by the publisher for review, as I am part of Juliet’s launch tour. I agreed because I enjoyed the first novel in the series, BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE, but I find myself reading not out of a sense of obligation, but out of a sense of discovery. I am learning something as I read this book, not just about the sad state of France just before the Revolution, but of the state of Marie Antoinette’s soul, her foibles and her sweetness both. I’ll finish the novel and post my review on Oct 8th, but I have to thank Juliet already for reminding me why I love historical fiction, for lifting Marie Antoinette’s mask.

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