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Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution Hardcover – 15 Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY); First Edition edition (15 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307588653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307588654
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 4 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,337,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Certain to be a breakout book for Moran, this superbly written and plotted work is a welcome addition to historical fiction collections. The shocking actions and behavior required of Tussaud to survive the revolution make the novel a true page-turner and a perfect reading group choice."--"Library Journal," starred review "This is a first-class novel, brilliantly written, and Michelle Moran has authentically evoked an era, infusing her narrative with passages of gripping and often horrifying drama, set in one of history's most brutal periods. The scope of the author's research is staggering, but you won't need to get to the notes at the end to realize that. As historical novels go, this is of the first rank--a page-turner that is both vividly and elegantly written. I feel privileged to be able to endorse it."--Alison Weir, author of "Eleanor of Aquitane""Moran's latest is an excellent and entertaining novel steeped in the zeitgeist of the period. Highly recommended."--"Historical Novels Review," Editors' Choice "This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times. A feat for Francophiles and adventurers alike."--"Publishers Weekly" "Madame Tussaud...is brought to life in this well-crafted, fast-paced novel by the talented Michelle Moran...Michelle Moran has done what few novelists have been successfully able to accomplish, and that is to depict the full range of the swift political changes that occurred in the few years from the fall of the Bastille to the beheading of the king. "Madame Tussaud "promises to be a breakout book for this talented writer--a novel that is both a gripping fictionalized biography of an intriguing woman and a well-paced, illuminating chronicle of the French Revolution."--"New York Journal of Books" "Well-plot --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Paris, 1788. Marie is a young woman in love with her oldest friend and neighbour, Henri. But she is also a determined businesswoman, eager to see her family's waxwork museum keep them safe and solvent. Her gift for modelling faces in wax brings her to Versailles, where she must teach the king's sister her skill. But the coming revolution will place Marie, her family and all of Paris in grave danger. As the monarchy is overthrown and the horror of the guillotine becomes a fixture in French life, Marie is expected to show her patriotism by making death masks from the severed heads of every key figure killed as the Reign of Terror begins and France enters its darkest time. How will Marie survive the Revolution? Who of her friends and family will survive it with her? And just how will this young girl come to be known as the woman behind one of the most famous museums in the world?

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is my first read from Michelle Moran and I will be coming back for more! Madame Tussaud - A Novel of the French Revolution tells the story of Marie Grosholtz (later to become Marie Tussaud) from 1788 until 1802 and is set against the vivid backdrop of the French Revolution. Marie's talents as a wax modeler attract the attention of both the royal family and the French revolutionaries so she and her family strive to keep their heads (literally) whilst pleasing both factions.

Madame Tussaud is an extremely readable, entertaining story, not so much a fictional biography but an intriguing viewpoint of one of the most brutal, turbulent periods in history. Marie is a determined, ambitious young woman, putting her work and financial security ahead of any possible romantic liaison with her suitor, the incredibly patient Henri Charles. In that sense, she seems a very modern woman. Despite the revolutionary call for liberty,equality and fraternity, Marie is all too aware that allegiances change on a daily basis, so much so that they can hardly keep up with all the new models needed in the wax salon.

Moran cleverly shows both sides of the Revolution via Marie who has first hand contact with the aristocracy in the shape of Madame Elisabeth, sister of Louis XVI and also frequent encounters with revolutionaries such as Robespierre, Marat, Danton as well as Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson and even the Marquis de Sade. These historical figures are so vividly presented, you almost feel yourself hurled into the midst of the Reign of Terror and the tension and fear is palpable, particularly when Marie is forced to make death masks from the freshly severed heads of royalty and revolutionary leaders who have fallen out of favour.

A fascinating story of an extremely talented businesswoman who lived in equally fascinating times.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Anon on 6 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I am a massive fan of Michelle Moran's books, so when this came out I ordered it immediately.
Expecting the same vibrant settings and colourful characters I started to read it as soon as it arrived, but found that after two chapters I was already bored.
The story is focused mainly on the French Revolution and is a tale of how that pans out, rather than the legendary Madame Tussaud. In fact, although her waxwork skills feature frequently, they are never the focal point of the book and the main character, Marie Grosholtz (Madame Tussaud) lacks emotional depth and isn't strong enough for us to connect with her. The love story between her and Henri is weak and you don't really see how they would work as a couple, because their personalities are barely revealed.
It was difficult to finish this book, although the style of writing was gripping even if the story did leave a lot to be desired.
If you're looking for a deep and thoughtful tale about historical events, this one is for you. But, if like me, you want a book to read like all of Michelle Moran's others - passionate and filled to the brim with interesting and strong characters, then I would give this one a miss.
Although this proved a disappointment, her three previous books were beautifully written and make a wonderful read, and I would strongly recommend them to anyone wishing to escape to a different time period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexa on 12 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading the other 3 Michelle Moran books. I appreciate her writing isn't the best out there but I find the eras she writes about interesting and her writing style easy to read.

The book is set during the 1700's prior to and during the French Revolution. I knew little to nothing about Madam Tussaud or the French Revolution so this seemed like it would be an interesting read. However, I think the title is a bit deceiving. The book isn't so much about Madam Tussaud as it is about the Revolution - Madam Tussaud, known in the book as Marie, is merely the eyes through which we see the revolution . This meant that you don't learn that much about her wax museum and you never really feel that connected to her. Marie seemed very two dimensional and throughout the book seemed almost indifferent to the sufferings the revolution bought about as she appeared only to care about how much money her exhibit was making.

I felt that Moran tried to cram a bit too much in to the story. She mentions so many people and events that sometimes it's a bit hard not to get lost. I think if she had cut some of this out the book would have been quite a lot shorter and easier to follow. Once the revolution finished so did the book so I felt Marie's story didn't really end satisfactorily as it was very abrupt.

Despite this, the time period is fascinating and Moran sticks very closely to historical fact. The book has given me a real desire to go and find more about the French Revolution. I felt her writing was better in this book than in some of the previous ones which made it feel more adult. An interesting read about a traumatic, bloody period of history but let down by the main character and overly in-depth portrayal of events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Toni Osborne on 13 April 2012
Format: Paperback
"A Novel of the French Revolution"

"Madame Tussaud" is set during a difficult and complicated time in French history when the population became more and more dissatisfied with the monarchy. While the subjects were hit with rising taxes and left starving and had little to call their own, the royals were spending foolishly and living high of the hog. The masses became so discouraged with the direction of the country, they reached a point where they did not trust or support anything King Louis XV1 and Queen Marie Antoinette did. This was a very volatile and dangerous time; France was on a downhill spiral and the ensuing events left its mark on history for ever.

The story is mainly of Marie Grosholtz, a talented artist who worked at her family wax museum sculpting figures that reflected events of the time: Paris late 1780's. This was a very trying time for their profession and their Salon de Cire, in order to make a living and protect the family they had to walk a very fine line between two distinctive groups with opposing agendas. One group was the royalty with an endless supply of money and the other was represented by Robespierre and Marat, the two notorious revolutionary instigators whose propaganda speeches eventually bring the population to rise against the monarchy.

It didn't take long for the situation to get out of hands. The ruling class retaliated by implementing the guillotine and went from town to town massacring all those in their way but eventually the people with their numbers overran the Bastille.... During this period, Marie was mandated to prepare the death masks of prominent people who were recently beheaded but soon became unable to do this gruesome task, there was no apparent end in sight.
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