The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin….
Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador Thomas Jefferson to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie's museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, and when word arrives that the royals themselves are coming to see their likenesses, Marie never dreams that the king's sister will request her presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. Yet when a letter with a gold seal is delivered to her home, Marie knows she cannot refuse---even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend Henri Charles.
As Marie becomes acquainted with her pupil, Princess Elisabeth, she is taken to meet both Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she's ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into to a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafes across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there's whispered talk of revolution. Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? More important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
"Moran is a sprightly and gimlet-eyed writer, so this should be fun - and a possible breakout." (Library Journal)
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Couldn't stop listening to this book
I would absolutely listen to this book again. I loved this book. The main character of this book is in the unique position of being having a talent that appealed to both the royalty and the common people and that talent gave her insight into both sides of the revolution. I have read other books on this time period in France and ended up with knowledge of what happened but never really understood how or why it happened the way it did. Michelle Moran weaves a very absorbing story using the actual people and events of the time. I couldn't stop listening to this book. I was driven to get to the end, but was sad when I reached it. I loved the fact that at the end of the book she reveals what eventually happened to the main characters in their actual lives. It gave the book a kind of closure. I thought that the reader, Rosalyn Landor, was wonderful. I was not put off in the least by her slight British accent because her French pronunciation of names, places and events was flawless and she is very easy to listen to.
Although the style,situation,and time period is vastly different, I would say that I have not enjoyed a book so much since I read
I have not listened to Rosalyn Landor before but I will certainly look for other books that she has read. She is a wonderful reader with a pleasant voice.
I did want to listen to it all in one sitting but I started to listen to this book on December 21st. I listened while wrapping presents, decorating the tree, and while baking cookies but there were some times that I did have to take the earphones out and pause the book.
- James B. Donahue
Tales from a turbulent time