Cruel sketch of queen as she passed on the way to the guillotine, by the revolutionary artist David.

Did the shameless, sex-mad, Marie Antoinette deserve to be guillotined? The Parisians thought so. What would you have thought if you had been there during the French Revolution in August 1792? Whose side would you have been on? The side of the French princes, 7,000 French aristocrats and 80,000 awesome Austrian and Prussian soldiers advancing on Paris to raze it to the ground, wreaking destruction across France as they advanced? Or the side of the starving people, fighting to protect their brand new National Assembly and their brand new rights to liberty, equality and fraternity?

What would you have thought of your deceitful king, Louis XVI, and his spendthrift wife Marie Antoinette, who had secretly invited these formidable German armies to march on Paris – to restore their absolute monarchy and annihilate all your new rights? Would you have stormed Marie Antoinette’s palace with the downtrodden people? Would you have guillotined her?

As the shrieking Parisians stormed their palace, the apathetic Louis XVI waited passively for death. whilst Marie Antoinette fought valiantly for her children and her throne. She wanted to live – for the sake of her darling son, whom she burned to see on the throne of France. Not to mention her darling comte Axel de Fersen, the handsome Swedish nobleman she had fallen in love with 18 years before. Yes, 36 year old Marie Antoinette had loved the dashing Fersen for 18 years, because her hopeless, sweet, liar of a husband – was never enough of a man for the tragic queen. Find out why in this novel, based on the memoirs of those who were there, and twenty years of research and translation of original French resources by MacLeod.

The furious Parisians stormed Marie Antoinette’s palace and imprisoned her. And this once thoughtless, pleasure seeking queen transformed herself into the courageous, admirable queen she should always have been. But it was too late to save her life and her throne. If only she had changed while she still had time. If only the people had got to know the new admirable queen.

Share Marie Antoinette’s agony as she dutifully remained at the side of her hopeless, sweet, liar of a husband, as the Parisians stormed her palace. Witness the last heart-breaking meeting between Marie Antoinette and her husband – before he was led off to the guillotine. Experience her anguish on the day they wrenched her shrieking little boy (now a child-king) out of her arms – forever. Feel for her 14 year old daughter on the night the revolutionaries came for Marie Antoinette. No wonder the queen’s beauty had faded! No wonder her hair had begun to turn white! 

Based on contemporary accounts, and with characters (most of whom were actual historical personages) speaking the very words they recall in their memoirs.

And will this chilling but ultimately life affirming novel about the agonising last year of Marie Antoinette’s turbulent life make you change your mind about the tragic queen?

Includes as extras: 20 pages of snippets from Marie Antoinette’s letters to her beloved comte Axel de Fersen, the love of her life: “Most loved and most loving of men.” And extracts from the moving memoirs of Marie Therese, Marie Antoinette’s daughter, about her disturbing 2 and a half years of imprisonment, after they guillotined her mother: “The guards came to search my room at four o’clock in the morning. They were all drunk and their oaths and blasphemy dare not be repeated.” No wonder Marie Antoinette’s daughter Marie Therese, the only survivor of the family’s imprisonment, seemed to suffer for the rest of her life. And of course, the simply wicked treatment of Marie Antoinette’s beloved son, which only ended with his merciful death, whilst in solitary confinement – although not before the child had endured two years of hell on earth. “His look seemed to say: ‘Dispatch your victim.’”

 

About the author

 

MacLeod says: ‘If like me, you’re gripped by the heart rending riches to rags story of Marie Antoinette, you’ll understand why I’ve spent ages reading everything I could get my hands on about this unfortunate queen. For years, while my babies were small, I scoured dusty university book shelves to find 200 year old books of letters and memoirs – to read, and sometimes to translate, while they slept.’

This book is the product of these years of research. It is based on contemporary letters and memoirs – written by Marie Antoinette and those closest to Marie Antoinette – her mother, her love Fersen, her unsurprisingly embittered daughter Marie Therese, her maid, the governess of her children. And a roll call of many others.

Now a teacher, her children grown, MacLeod lives in Lanarkshire, Scotland with her family.