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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multitasking Marie
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...
Published on 26 Sep 2011 by Lovely Treez

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
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...
Published on 6 May 2011 by Anon


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Multitasking Marie, 26 Sep 2011
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Madame Tussaud (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 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, 6 May 2011
This review is from: Madame Tussaud (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 Madamme 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be a core text for Modern European History courses, 14 Aug 2012
By 
love reading "marsy" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Paperback)
I studied the French Revolution at university as it is perhaps one of the most pivotal times in modern European history. Personally, I found it a very complicated time to study and found it difficult to get my head round all the counter=revolutions and politics of the day. I so wish I had read this book then because it explains it all very clearly and in a very enjoyable and accessible way. I know students would hugely benefit from reading this book.
As a novel, it is maybe slightly weaker as the story of Madame Tussaud, although interesting, is secondary to the rich historical details portraying the FR. If you want mere entertainment from a novel this would not be for you as it is a rich and learning experience; I learned far more about this period than I did from slogging through all the academic text books I was forced to read. It does also work well as a story too; Moran brings this period so vividly to life and her use of the character of Madame Tussaud and her relationships with the key figures made it all seem very credible and realistic.
I loved this book and thoroughly recommend this to anyone but particularly to students of history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars She made a great impression, 4 Dec 2014
This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Kindle Edition)
I have gone to Madam Tussaud's wax museum quite a few times and will admit, that in a creepy way, it's fascinating. Standing next to famous people, seeing how tall, the nuances of their features is interesting. I especially love to see the historical characters. However now, after reading the book I understand the historical importance of her wax figures and tableaux she created. When there was no television, people needed a way to reference the major players of the day. The wax museum brought these characters to life. This gave the public a way to identify important people, and helped them understand and many times, swayed them in political thinking. Originally a form of entertainment, Madam Tussaud became a key figure in the revolution, swept up in the storm of the times, her rare talent making her a major player in the upheaval that shook France.
Moran's book does the same thing. Fleshing out the star players, her words make them as three dimensional as wax figures and we can understand the fury of the times. Excellent book, and gives a interesting perspective of the French revolution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Period of History, 12 July 2012
By 
Alexa (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Captivating, 13 April 2012
This review is from: Madame Tussaud (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. When she refused she was immediately sent to the gallows to wait for her turn at the guillotine....Fortunately that day never came and while in prison she meet and married Mr. Tussaud. It was a domed marriage, not many years after their release they each went their separate ways.

The novel begins as a sedate look at the wax museum and the events that brought the French monarchy to its knees, the details of the time and the part Marie Groshotlz played became so captivating I had trouble putting the book down. The devastation caused by the Revolution and number of beheadings and killings in search of social fairness was overwhelming. This is a fantastic historical fiction that takes us back in time and provides a fabulous perspective of a woman whose name and artistic endeavours are well-known even to this day. The author provides a brief description on what is fact and what is fiction at the end of the book.

Ms. Moran is highly skilled at making history interesting.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 18 April 2011
By 
Anne Davis (Gloucester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Paperback)
This is a wonderful account of the horrendous days of the French Revolution told in the words of Marie Grosholtz who later became the famous Madame Tussaud. Marie, whose uncle Philippe Curtius, ran the Salon de Cire, a wax model exhibition, learned her trade from him and met all the notable people of the day on both sides of the revolution. She becomes a friend of Princess Elisabeth, sister to Louis XV1, when she is asked to go to Versailles and teach the Princess to make wax models but when she is asked by the leaders of the revolution to fashion death masks of the victims of the guillotine she cannot refuse for she is in fear of her own and her family's lives. It is only when her personal friend Lucile Duplessis and then Princess Elisabeth herself are executed that she says she cannot do it and is herself thrown into gaol. However, she outlives the revolution and the rest, as they say is history. I think this is a brilliant book - the writing really makes you feel as if you are a part of it and though most of us know a fair bit about these times, this story really adds a lot of depth to what we already know.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MADAME TUSSAUD & THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, 28 May 2011
By 
Eleni - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Paperback)
I decided to read this book after reading Michelle Moran's previous excellent historical novels, Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter.

The book is set in France before and during the French revolution and it is more a journal of the events of the revolution, as seen by wax artist Marie Grosholtz, who is better known as Madame Tussaud, rather than her fictional biography. As with the author's previous novels, it is very well researched and excellently written, with amazing vivid descriptions and well developed characters. Moran has this wonderful ability to create a very real setting and to make the reader feel as if he is there, witnessing every single detail, from the clothes of the people, the architecture and even the scent of each place, to the everyday details of their lives and work. Particularly her descriptions of Marie's wax modeling techniques are great.

However, I have mixed feelings about this book, as although it is excellently written, I really disliked the main character, Marie Grosholtz so much that I had to force myself to finish the book. Marie is presented, as a strong though harsh, self-centered and opportunistic woman, obsessed with money, whose only interest is to make her salon famous and to succeed at any cost. At a time of great ideals, when people fought for their beliefs, regardless of which side they supported, Marie played on both sides, waiting to see who would win at the end. She did horrific things and was willing to see her friends and loved ones destroyed and although she seemed to regret it, she did nothing to help.

The story is interesting, but it seems that the author wants to incorporate a love story every time and in this novel it was not a plausible one. Marie is so preoccupied with her personal ambition, that love is to her only an obstacle and as her political loyalties shift when it is convenient, so do her feelings. Perhaps this characterization is based on the truth or maybe being a "survivalist" makes her more believable, but certainly not a convincing heroine for a love story.

From her other novels, I know that Moran's work has many inaccuracies, but as I don't know the history of the French revolution as well as ancient Egypt's, I felt insecure reading this and I did not know what to believe. For instance, I know that Marie was in contact with many revolutionaries and members of the royal family, but it is hard to believe that she was so important and influential for both sides. Reading this book, the reader is left to believe that if Marie had acted differently, history would be very different. Clearly Marie was important as she documented events for her salon, but she was not such a key player as the author would have us believe.

The book also includes a very nice and detailed Historical Note and a very helpful Glossary.

In total, the story of a very unsympathetic woman, but if you can get passed that, it is a well written, powerful and moving historical novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 16 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Kindle Edition)
Well researched and extremely well written. However, I felt the author did not quite capture the evident strength of character of Marie Tussaud. In modern terms Marie Tussaud would be termed "a tough cookie". Nonetheless the historical facts were amazingly accurate. For anyone who likes historical novels this book needs to be read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Written, 12 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Madame Tussaud (Kindle Edition)
A good read and although some poetic licence, of course, it gives an insight into the life of this very famous lady as well as a good insight into the events of the French Revolution. If you are looking for something you can just dip in and out of a good buy.
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