Let them not eat Marie Antoinette

3 January 2013

Marie Antoinette, François Hubert, c1777-1784. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London.

One of the nicest things about having this blog is the fact that I get loads of emails every week from readers who either want to chat a bit more about one of the posts or have questions about something that I’ve either only slightly touched on or have yet to post about. Okay, I say this is lovely but actually it’s a bit of a curse too as I have limited time these days due to the books and often don’t feel like I can go into as much depth as I would like in my replies.

As a result, I decided to collate some of the posts that inspired to most of my emails into a book and, of course, once I’d decided to turn them into a book it was inevitable that I went on to decide to add loads more extra information and by loads, I mean LOADS.

I get asked about so many things that it was actually pretty hard to decide which subject the first non fiction Madame Guillotine book should concentrate on but in the end I decided that it could only be about Marie Antoinette, not just because she is very popular with a large segment of my readership but also because I have some really meaty material to share with you all and there’s rather a lot that I haven’t even posted here yet.

Marie Antoinette, Mosnier, 1775. Photo: Christie’s/Private Collection.

The book itself won’t be a straight and formal biography but rather an expansive collection of essays on such topics as Marie Antoinette’s sisters, her relationship (or not!) with the hunky Axel de Fersen (I’m not a fan as you may have guessed) and life in the Conciergerie during the Revolution as well as pieces focussing on the people closest to her like Madame de Gueménée, Madame Élisabeth and the Duc de Lauzun and the places that she knew and also plenty of myth debunking about That Cake Quote, her alleged lesbianism, the fate of Madame de Lamballe and the affair of the necklace (isn’t it curious that the Kirsten Dunst film didn’t even touch on this even though it was such a huge deal?).

I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I rather love the current trend in documentaries to pepper little dramatised bits in between the historians and various talking heads so be warned right now that there will be some random bits of creative writing in between all the facts and information. Well, I AM a novelist after all! There’ll be snippets (some of which haven’t been seen before) from The Secret Diary of a Princess as well as some new scene setting pieces from later in her life.

Marie Antoinette, Gautier D’Agoty, 1775. Photo: Château de Versailles.

I’ve only just started putting this book together but it’s already a massive piece of work with a really broad range of topics, some of which will be familiar to long term readers of this blog whereas probably slightly more will be entirely new pieces.

I’m very excited about this, can you tell?

I’m hoping to have Marie Antoinette: From Teen Queen to Madame Guillotine all together and ready for publication for Bastille Day but who knows, it may well see the light of day somewhat earlier if I can get my act together…

ps. If all goes well then I have a feeling that this may well be the first part of a series of books as I’ve managed to accumulate a huge amount of material over the years.

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