“Sometimes, it is not the kings and queen who make for the most fascinating history but the shadowy souls who happen to be in the right place at the right time.”Madame Tussaud
The French Revolution is one of the most fascinating, yet heartbreaking moments in history. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran is a historical fiction that showcases one of the most famous woman from that time. We all know Madame Tussaud for her wax museum that are still around today but she was a real woman who witnessed the horrors of revolution. The book begins in 1788 and Marie works with her Uncle to create wax figures in their wax museum. Their figures depict royalty and politicians that the people may never get to meet in reality. However, there is unrest. The people are starving and the royals don’t seem to care. Marie is then assigned to give lessons to Princess Elizabeth. This could be a huge opportunity for their museum but it also places her in a difficult decision as the Revolution escalates. Marie and her family must balence the thin political line. One wrong decision could send them to the guillotine…
While this book does have a slow start it is just filled with astounding historical detail. It goes into wonderful detail about the rise of the Revolution and how it escalated. It didn’t happen overnight. Moran also does a wonderful job at portraying the different political factions. It wasn’t just revolutionaries verses the royals. This time is filled with power-hungry politicians. Meanwhile, the suffering that the people of France endured is absolutely awful, especially for them to see that the Royals aren’t noticing. Moran’s version is that the Royals were ignorant, not heartless. But she also shows that they were also human. When Marie Antoinette has to face the death of her child, she faces depression along with the country in an uproar.
However, one thing I was not expecting from this book is the suspense. No one was safe in this time. There is betrayal after betrayal and it could happen at any given moment. Marie always handles herself so well. She has a passion for her work but it is more of a passion for humanity. She has a gift of seeing the person on the inside, not just how they look. She has courage beyond measure. For survival during the Reign of Terror, she must create facial molds of the people who were decapitated by the guillotine. But during this time it is never enough.
I was sobbing at the end of this book. I couldn’t recommend this book enough. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars!