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The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette

The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, by Carolly Erickson.

I really expected to love this book.  I poured over the Hello America series a few years ago and loved them to pieces, so I figured what's not to love about historical fiction written in the form of a diary, right?  Wrong.  It's not that I didn't like this book; it's just that I didn't really love it, either.

The title of this book says it all:  This work is written from the perspective of Marie Antoinette, in the form of a diary.  It spans the period from her late childhood years in Austria (the Austro-Hungarian Empire I believe is the proper title for the period) through her marriage to the French king and the turbulent period leading up to the French Revolution and the destruction of the monarchy and the rise of the Republic.  It closes with an entry shortly before Marie's execution, and a final entry post-execution from one of her ladies.

The author did a nice job of developing the major characters, and I have to admit I learned a fair amount about this period in French history by reading this book.  Overall, however, I found the book to be very repetitive.  There is only so many times this reader can read a diary entry bemoaning the decline of the quality of life and the fear of what lies ahead before being reading to chuck the book against the wall, and this book crossed that line fairly quickly.  (I've patched the dents in the wall, now.   <.< )  I think the story could have been conveyed more strongly with less repetition of the whining theme and a little faster pace at places.  I would recommend this book to those who are interested in this period in French history as a fairly easy read and a good means of getting a good overview of the important events.  Just make sure to have a coffee close at hand to help you through the more repetitive patches.

I'd give this book a 3 out of 5, meaning borrow it from the library or a friend; don't waste your money on purchasing it unless you really love this author or are a collector of books on this period in French history.

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