Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: February 2011
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
Author Site: http://www.michellemoran.com/
My Rating: 5/5
Source: Received for review from author
In this deft historical novel, Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) escapes the pages of trivia quizzes to become a real person far more arresting than even her waxwork sculptures. Who among us knew, for instance, that she moved freely through the royal court of Louis XVI, only to become a prisoner of the Reign of Terror? Her head was shaven for guillotining, but she escaped execution, though she was forced to make death masks for prominent victims. Novelist Michelle Moran covers this breathtaking period without losing the thread of its subject's singular story.
So I’m no history buff. I seriously never took a class in school that didn’t involve US History. I think in 10th grade I took World History, but that class was so vague. And honestly, I never paid attention to history for some reason. Granted I had pretty good grades when I was in school but I never really retained any information, even about US History. So the French Revolution and I have never been on speaking terms. I have no real knowledge of European History. I never even knew who Madame Tussaud was before Michelle Moran contacted me about her newest release. No idea about her amazing wax sculptures… Yeah, I know…you think I live under a rock, don’t you?
I might as well live under a rock because I seriously missed out on learning about European History. Now that I’m older and semi-smarter I’ve gained an interest and curiosity into the past. My interest really grows when I come across amazing stories like Madame Tussaud. When I read Cleopatra’s Daughter last year I fell in love with Moran’s writing. Madame Tussaud doesn’t disappoint in its breathtaking delivery about a very talented woman caught right in the middle of one of the bloodiest and chaotic time periods in history.
Personally, I was blown away. And while a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was just learning about the chaotic politics, the historical figures, and the horrible things that happened during the French Revolution I still give a lot of credit to Moran’s delivery. I was completely engrossed with the story. I loved how each character, even the crazies who went overboard with their belief in liberty, had such real personalities. I really felt that I personally got to know Marie, her family, the Royal Family (especially the King’s sister), and the political leaders. I had no idea how destructive the French Revolution was. I was shocked, scared, sad, and horrified while reading a lot of the passages. I couldn’t imagine being in France at a time of such chaos.
I think even if I had prior knowledge (like any normal, rational person would have) of the French Revolution, the King and Queen, or even Madame Tussaud I still would have enjoyed Moran’s ability to transport a reader into the past. It’s really amazing. I can only imagine the hard work and research Moran puts into her novels. I think any historical fan will enjoy reading Madame Tussaud, especially those interested in the French Revolution. History novices are definitely welcome as well, no previous knowledge required, I promise!
P.S. (cover talk)
My Uncorrected Proof is covered in the word Crown... It’s awesome! No but seriously, I think the hardcover is beautiful. The paperback cover (found here) is very pretty but I feel it’s a bit misleading. The cover model makes me think “young adult” and “Can love survive the Revolution?” is a bit random.