Let them not eat Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, François Hubert, c1777-1784. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.

One of the nicest things about having this blog is the fact that I get loads of emails every week from readers who either want to chat a bit more about one of the posts or have questions about something that I’ve either only slightly touched on or have yet to post about. Okay, I say this is lovely but actually it’s a bit of a curse too as I have limited time these days due to the books and often don’t feel like I can go into as much depth as I would like in my replies.

As a result, I decided to collate some of the posts that inspired to most of my emails into a book and, of course, once I’d decided to turn them into a book it was inevitable that I went on to decide to add loads more extra information and by loads, I mean LOADS.

I get asked about so many things that it was actually pretty hard to decide which subject the first non fiction Madame Guillotine book should concentrate on but in the end I decided that it could only be about Marie Antoinette, not just because she is very popular with a large segment of my readership but also because I have some really meaty material to share with you all and there’s rather a lot that I haven’t even posted here yet.

Marie Antoinette, Mosnier, 1775. Photo: Christie’s/Private Collection.

The book itself won’t be a straight and formal biography but rather an expansive collection of essays on such topics as Marie Antoinette’s sisters, her relationship (or not!) with the hunky Axel de Fersen (I’m not a fan as you may have guessed) and life in the Conciergerie during the Revolution as well as pieces focussing on the people closest to her like Madame de Gueménée, Madame Élisabeth and the Duc de Lauzun and the places that she knew and also plenty of myth debunking about That Cake Quote, her alleged lesbianism, the fate of Madame de Lamballe and the affair of the necklace (isn’t it curious that the Kirsten Dunst film didn’t even touch on this even though it was such a huge deal?).

I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I rather love the current trend in documentaries to pepper little dramatised bits in between the historians and various talking heads so be warned right now that there will be some random bits of creative writing in between all the facts and information. Well, I AM a novelist after all! There’ll be snippets (some of which haven’t been seen before) from The Secret Diary of a Princess as well as some new scene setting pieces from later in her life.

Marie Antoinette, Gautier D’Agoty, 1775. Photo: Château de Versailles.

I’ve only just started putting this book together but it’s already a massive piece of work with a really broad range of topics, some of which will be familiar to long term readers of this blog whereas probably slightly more will be entirely new pieces.

I’m very excited about this, can you tell?

I’m hoping to have Marie Antoinette: From Teen Queen to Madame Guillotine all together and ready for publication for Bastille Day but who knows, it may well see the light of day somewhat earlier if I can get my act together…

ps. If all goes well then I have a feeling that this may well be the first part of a series of books as I’ve managed to accumulate a huge amount of material over the years.

11 thoughts on “Let them not eat Marie Antoinette

  • Palma Leslie

    I’m so glad that you decided to put all these stories together in a book. I can’t wait to read it. I just hope that I’d be able to get a hold of it here in Canada. :)

  • Michelle @ The True Book Addict

    I think this is a fabulous idea! I will definitely be getting a copy. Sadly, I don’t always have time to read all of your wonderful blog posts so this will be a great way to finally read some of what I may have missed.

    I love the new covers of your books. Divine!

  • Sarah

    Essay books work really well. I have two about Henry III by DA Carpenter that I love! I’m looking forward to this book.

    Sarah :)

  • Michael

    Very excited to hear! I will be one of the first to buy it and it will no doubt be brillaint.I hope you include an essay about the various films she has inspired :)

  • Tara from Maryland

    Count me in! I will enjoy reading this book. (And I’m not a supporter of the MA/Fersen thing either, via reading Elena Maria Vidal’s novels and blog! If I’m not mistaken, a hf featuring the relationship came out in the US this past summer…I didn’t bother with it.)

  • Marina Sofia

    I’ve been out of action and offline for a good few weeks, so have come late to this post. But I think it sounds like a wonderful idea! Look forward to reading it, on or after Bastille Day.

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