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The life of Marie Thérèse de France, or "Madame Royale," as she would be known, is brought to life in this fascinating biography. Nagel takes us from our heroine's birth as an adored and pampered "Daddy's girl" to her unspeakable experiences during the revolution, then into adult life, her travels in exile, and her marriage to Louis-Antoine, duc d'Angoulême. There is never a dull moment in this well-researched, beautifully written biography of a subject who has too often been forgotten.
For those who have studied the Bourbon monarchy and the revolution, most of what is written up to Chapter 10, "Two Orphans," may be a review. However, it is essential background in such a biography. It will be accessible to those who are new to the subject, although it would be helpful if the audio had a PDF download of the geneaology charts included with the hardcover to help one keep track of the labrynthine royal inter-relationships.
Nagel makes a strong case against the "Dark Countess theory." The Dunkelgräfin as she is known in her German home, was the comtesse des Ténèbres, around whom controversy continues to the present day. It was said she was substituted for Madame Royale, and her unusually secretive and eccentric behavior masked her true identity.
Whatever one might conclude about Madame Royale, one would have to have a heart of stone not to grieve for any person of any station who would have lived through such tumult and terror. For me, Nagel revivified a memorable and heart-breaking character who will stay with me for a very long time.
Also recommended: "The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son on Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette" by Deborah Cadbury.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
it is clear that the author did EXTENSIVE research and although listening to this took me about 2 months, I very much enjoyed all that I learned about the Bourbon family.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful