Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter Hardcover – 18 Mar 2008

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"

Product details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Clearway Logistics Phase 2-3; Reprint edition (18 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596910577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596910577
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 4.1 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,104,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amelrode VINE VOICE on 25 July 2008
Format: Hardcover
Marie Therese of France was the eldest child of King Louis XVI of France and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. Known as Madame Royal she survived as the only member of her immediate family the Revolution. Left as an orphan in the Temple she was finally freed and married her first cousin the Duke of Angouleme. She shared the ups and downs of the French Royal Family, became briefly Queen of France for 20 odd minutes in 1830 when this time frame separated the abdications of her father-in-law Charles X and her husband. She spent her rest of her life in exile, dying at the very day of the anniversary of her mother's execution. She has come down in history as largely unknown and fairly unsympathetic figure, the eternal symbol of the Ancien Regime.

Susan Nagel tries to give new life to this personality who seems to have been stucked in her role as a symbol. She tries to humanize her. This is indeed very difficult and she does not succeed very well. One can understand her position that she remained a dire-hard royalist and took an ultraconservative point of view as all other positions might have been to tacitly accept that there had been some justification in the end of the monarchy and even her her parents' deaths. Nevertheless more perspectives are needed in order to put her into perspective. One likes Marie Therese better, but in the end she remained a distant and still not sympathic figure. Yes, Susan Nagel brings her closer to the reader, but does not meet her self set goal. In the end I felt more pity with Marie Therese, but somehow limited. In the end it is a book I did not mind having read but I still find it not very convincing. Definitely this is not the last word on Marie Therese.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 65 reviews
111 of 117 people found the following review helpful
The story of the valiant princess 23 Mar 2008
By Rebecca Huston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the last decade or so, there seems to be have been an explosion of nonfiction books about the French monarchy, with a special emphasis on Marie-Antoinette. But with all of this focus on Marie-Antoinette, there was one glaring omission that really struck me. Namely, no one was really talking about the one surviving child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette -- their eldest daughter, Marie-Therese-Charlotte, Madame Royale.

Susan Nagel's biography finally gives a full picture to this story of a princess who went through tribulations that only a very few people could have survived. The early chapters deal with information that can be found in most histories about Marie-Antoinette and her marriage at the tender age of fourteen to the rather stolid and unattractive Louis-Auguste, the Dauphin (heir) to the throne of France. Both of them were rather uncertain of themselves, and very naive and didn't know very much about marriage. The result of that the relationship remained unconsummated for more than seven years, and was only resolved with the rather ribald advice of Marie-Antoinette's oldest brother, Emperor Joseph II.

And on December 19,1778, there was finally a Child of France born -- but not the son that everyone had been hoping and praying for. Instead, it was a daughter, who was named after her maternal grandmother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Both parents were delighted by the arrival of a healthy child, and soon enough both of them were besotted by her. For the little girl, while her life was surrounded by governesses and ceremonial, it was also a world of untold luxury, and within a few years, she had several siblings to share it with. Louis-Joseph would die young, but Louis-Charles, the younger, was a strong, sturdy young boy. Sadly, a fourth child, Sophie, would die in infancy. Surviving paintings show Marie-Therese as a smiling, blonde child with large blue eyes, either gazing up at her mother in adoration, or holding the hand of her little brother. She was also very precocious, headstrong, and wasn't above speaking her mind when she wanted to. She was utterly devoted to her father, and clearly loved her mother, despite some rather unflattering comments.

But all of this changed in 1789, when unrest and continuing hardship caused the Parisians to revolt, and caused Louis XVI to grant some concessions and call a national parlement -- unfortunately for him and his family, it would prove to be not quite enough. The king and queen were already suffering from a profound loss: the death of their eldest son, Louis-Joseph, who literally wasted away, and only days later the mob marched on Versailles and demanded that the Royal family move to Paris. For Marie-Therese, just ten years old, it was the begining of a time of trauma and deprevation. The fragile truce between the King and people only lasted two years, when revolutionary forces led by the Duc d'Orleans called for the King to be put on trial -- and the family were imprisoned in the Tower Prison in Paris.

Marie-Therese saw her parents taken away and her younger brother removed to another cell. She was only left with her aunt Madame Elizabeth, who in turn was sent to the guillotine. Isolated, Marie-Therese hung onto the only thing she had left, her pride, and lived in silence, not uttering a word to her guards. She would occansionally hear the screams of her brother as his guards abused and tortured him. By the time that more moderate politicans came to power, Marie-Therese was a wan, fragile seventeen year old, and would be exchanged for French prisoners of war that the Austrians were holding.

And it is here that most of the stories end.

I always wondered just what had happened to her. But most histories have skipped over her, and so this book was a real eye-opener. It turns out that Marie-Therese was a strong willed young woman, and no mean politician herself. During Napoleon's reign she would move from country to country in Europe, remaining a strong voice for the restoration of monarchy in France, and would stare down Napoleon's troops in the city of Bordeaux, daring them to fire on her and the citizens under her protection. Even Napoleon was impressed by her, calling her the "only real man in the family."

But her marriage to her cousin, Louis-Antoine, the Duc d'Angouleme, was made out of duty, and it would remain a childless, rather bleak arrangement. Worst still, there would be wild rumours of her brother surviving and being smuggled out of the Tower, and each fresh sighting would bring both anguish and hope to Marie-Therese.

In uncovering this story, an even greater mystery arises -- for Susan Nagel's weaves in not just what happened to Marie-Therese, but also the possibility of Louis XVI fathering two illegitimate children. One son was acknowledged to be part of the Polignac family, but the other created one of the most romantic legends in Europe -- the Dark Countess. Even today some maintain that the Dark Countess was actually Marie-Therese, rendered an imbecile from her treatment during imprisonment, and switched with her half-sister.

As to the validity of that rumour, Nagel leaves a good deal of it to the reader to figure out. She does provide most of the recent discoveries as to what happened to Louis-Charles, and continues the story of the Bourbon claimants to the French throne. Along with the narrative, which holds together pretty well, if a trifle rushed here and there, she includes some fascinating tidbits about other royalties at the time, including the Romanovs, the Hapsburgs, and the Georgians in England. Several genealogies, a timeline, notes, a map showing Marie-Therese's travels around Europe, and a bibliography round out this biography.

Summing up, this is a must read for anyone interested in Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. It's well-written, exciting, and has plenty for the reader to think about. Five solid stars, and one of the best non-fiction books that I have come across this year.

Highly recommended.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Detail Rich Biography 2 May 2008
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Marie Therese is the story of the only surviving child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI of France. Because of their tragic end on the guillotine, the royal couple is a favorite of biographers and historical novelists, and the first third of the book recounts the circumstances that led to their execution, the difference being that, in Marie Therese, we are looking at these events through the eyes of a young girl. The downward spiral that began with the storming of the Bastille and led to the Reign of Terror started when Marie Therese was only 11 years old. While at Versailles, "Madame Royal" was forced to hide from armed mobs screaming for her mother's blood and to step over the butchered bodies of servants.

Three years later, the king, queen, Marie Therese, and her brother, the Dauphin, Louis-Charles, are incarcerated in the Temple Prison in Paris, and the horrors begin: the execution of her parents, the prolonged torture of her little brother who would die of neglect, and her own imprisonment. When she is finally released 3-1/2 years later, she is allowed to join her mother's brother, Emperor Franz II, in Austria. However, "The Orphan of the Tower" is now a young woman of steely resolve and one who recognizes the importance of her role as a representative of the Bourbon dynasty in exile.

In the years following her release from prison, Marie Therese and her husband, the Duc D'Angouleme, live a peripatetic existence, finally ending up in England, where they watch the events unfolding in France. With Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, the Bourbon dynasty is again restored. For the next 15 years, France will be Marie Therese's home until, once again, the French want to be rid of their king, Charles X.

Marie Therese is an exhaustive, highly detailed account of the life of Madame Royal, the French Revolution, and the complexities of European politics in the early 19th century. In addition to the great events in the lives of the royals, minutiae, such as travel itineraries, meals, the appearances of numerous pretenders to the throne, are recorded. At times, the inclusion of so many mundane details bogs down the book, but for anyone who ever wanted to know what happened to the only surviving child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, they will have to wonder no longer.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Gripping Tale of a new Heroine 24 Mar 2008
By Angela Cason - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
What a feat! My heart was racing from chapter to chapter, and I absolutely fell in love with Marie-Therese. Her world is drawn here with the forensic care of an Edith Wharton character. Nagel's obsessive research and beautifully detailed writing show Marie-Therese as a strong and credible survivor of the swing from Versailles luxury to tower imprisonment to fading and irrelevant royalty. Who needs pictures? Nagel so strongly evokes MT's loyalty and steadfast belief in a world that was literally decaying around her, I could feel the musty temperature of the rooms. Wow. What an accomplishment.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable read 15 April 2008
By elena maria vidal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Marie-Thérèse: Child of Terror" by Susan Nagel is a greatly anticipated biography which provides an overview of the turbulent life of the courageous daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Rare anecdotes and little-known incidents are pulled together into one volume to make for a consuming read. I would especially recommend it to the readers of the novel Madame Royale since it fills in many gaps which the novel, being a novel, did not cover. The Duchesse d'Angoulême, who was in looks and personality a total blending of both parents, is portrayed as emerging from a tragic situation to become one of the most powerful women in Europe. The reader shares in her triumphs, in her falls, in her heartbreaks.

In most respects, Nagel quotes directly from the various memoirs to produce a highly favorable portrait of the royal family, although their foibles and faults are not ignored. The Revolution is seen mostly from Madame Royale's point of view, and her view is understandably not very benign, since as a young child she was forced to witness bloodshed and social chaos. One by one her immediate family members were led away to die. In the prison she could hear the tormented cries of her little brother but was not allowed to comfort him or visit him when he was sick. Did she hate the Revolution and all symbols of it? Yes.

With sensitivity and insight, Nagel does not hesitate to demonstrate how the faith of Marie-Thérèse sustained her through so many sorrows. The books also makes it clear that Marie-Thérèse was dedicated to France in almost the same way as a nun is dedicated to her vows. For Madame Royale, no sacrifice, personal or otherwise, was too great, if it benefited her country.

Rising above personal disappointments, Marie-Thérèse led a life rich in love, full of friends and devotion to the poor. I learned a great deal about her friendships with people such as Queen Louise of Prussia, Napoleon's "beautiful enemy," Louise's mother being a childhood friend of Queen Marie-Antoinette's. The Duchesse d' Angoulême's love of simplicity and her ability to relate so well to small children are qualities of which ample evidence is given. Most remarkable was her talent for stealing the show at certain crucial events, when she would appear magnificently dressed, with jewels and plumes that heightened her regal bearing, leaving no doubt in the minds of onlookers that she was the greatest princess of all.

Marie-Thérèse's struggles with her memories and sad feelings are explored and might have been explored a little more. The emphasis is on her energy and dynamism, which were certainly outstanding aspects of her character. The search for what happened to her brother and the various pretenders is touched upon, not exhaustively, but then there are other books which deal specifically with those phenomena. Many fascinating details of the life of the Duchesse d'Angoulême are included, most of which are taken from primary sources, and for those aspects I found it an enjoyable read. If a person is not an admirer of Marie-Thérèse and her family, they might find it all tiresome, but I hated for the book to end.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Very well done! 15 April 2008
By jenruth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is very well written, engaging book; I highly recommend it -- I've read quite a few books about Marie Antoinette, but this is the first one that really gets into the life of Mare-Therese after she is ransomed for the french prisoners. She had tremendous grace.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know