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Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, Susan Nagel – Review and Giveaway

Marie-Therese was only a child when her parents, King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of France, were beheaded during the French Revolution.  After a childhood of privilege, she faced great deprivation as a teenager and endured constant struggle through the rest of her life, yet somehow managed to remain dedicated to France and her people.  Marie-Therese was an inspirational woman and Susan Nagel has done well on writing her first biography.  I have always wondered exactly what happened to Marie Antoinette’s children.  So often, history focuses on her and her husband, ignoring that one of the children survived and went on to live a mostly healthy life.

Contrasted with Marie-Therese’s story, there are short snippets about another woman, “The Dark Countess”, whose story has convinced many that she was the real Marie-Therese.  There was another girl very similar in appearance to Marie-Therese, but who died at a much younger age, so the identity of this woman has never been discovered.  This story was relevant, but I was glad that it only had a small place in the book, as I thought the real Marie-Therese deserved her own story.

This book is horrifying to read at times, particularly when the royal family is imprisoned and treated disgracefully.  As a historian, Nagel can tease out all the details and we can learn how unjust their treatment was.  The entire family lived less extravagantly than their forebears and essentially fell prey to the ambition of their cousin, who made the most of a bad situation.  The royal family remained loyal to France despite their despicable treatment as prisoners.

Nagel’s writing is always fluid and easy to read.  At times, I did get bogged down in the vast number of people that I was supposed to be remembering, especially regarding the Dark Countess.   I think that if I knew a bit more about post-Revolution France, or even if I spoke French, I would have had an easier time of it.

Regardless, I enjoyed this a lot and I felt I learned a great deal about one of those parts of history that isn’t normally focused on.  Marie-Therese was an interesting person who led a fascinating life, even in its extremely unhappy parts.  As the only royal to survive, she had a great legacy on her shoulders and she bore it well.  I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in history. Buy this book on Amazon.

Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for generously sending this book to me!

***

Or, would you like to win a copy? I have an ARC of this book that I will be happy to give away to one winner.  The rules are easy:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite part of history.  That will earn you one entry.  You must leave a comment or I won’t know that you’ve entered.
  2. For another entry, blog about this contest and link back to me!
  3. Comment by Wednesday, August 20th, at 11:59 pm EST.  I’ll draw a winner on Thursday, August 21st.

Good luck!

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22 comments to Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter, Susan Nagel – Review and Giveaway

  • Jen

    In some ways, my favorite part of history is simply whatever I happen to be reading about/studying at the time. It seems that no matter what the time period, I get caught up in the lives of the people who lived then.

    If I had to choose, however, it would seem to me that I most often return back to the Tudors, as well as their immediate predecessors and successors.

    P.S. I blogged the contest here. I read a couple of books about Marie Antoinette in the last year and am DYING to know what happened to her daughter.

  • My favorite time to read about in history is the Victorian era, but I also like reading world war two tales. I also enjoy reading stories centered around Great Britain.

  • I don’t even know where to begin with history. I always keep telling my friends and family that I should have majored in History instead of English as an undergrad. I love reading about ancient Greece and Rome, particularly the artwork and beautiful pieces of architecture, landscape and technological advancements. I also wrote a lengthy term paper on the various French Revolutions and have an odd obsession with Henry the VIII. He is by far my favorite Monarch to ever grace the Earth, along with his wives and their descendants.

    I also posted about your contest on my blog here I”ve read Abundance by Sene Jeter Naslund, and I studied French History in my Humanities classes, so I am very interested in what happened to the children.

  • My favorite part of history from what I have studied has often been the begnnings of humanity, when apes first came down from trees.

  • I’ve been on a World War II and later history kick lately. But I usually love all kinds of history. This sounds fascinating! Thanks for having a giveaway.

  • Ooh definitely buying this if I don’t win. I have a fascination with Marie Antoinette history- there isn’t much written about her children though. I picked up a book about her son by Deborah Cadbury that I haven’t read yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

    As for my fav part of history… hmmm has to be Alexander the Great related. Probably when his father was assassinated, and Atg proceeded to take over most of the known world. Just an amazing man.

  • I love historical fiction too! What I love reading about history is knowing where we came from and what challenges people have been through. I loved the book and movie about Marie Antoinette. Thanks for the great giveaway!:)

  • lindymc

    Although English medieval is my favorite, recent novels about Revolutionary France seem to have opened up another area of interest.

  • Genghis Khan and his Mongolian horde.
    one of the most interesting and influential series of war tactic to ever come from tribe culture, it caught the whole world off guard.

  • I’ve really enjoyed reading all the books about Henry the 8th, including the many books about the Boleyn family and Queen Elizabeth. I also like reading books set in the Medieval era in England. Most of the history I’ve studied has been architectural history, so prior to reading these books, most of my knowledge about these eras was what cathedrals were built. Its nice to get a broader look.

    Thanks for the giveaway. I’ll go ahead and blog about it too.

  • Gwendolyn

    Right now I am reading a lot of American and English history centering around the period before World War I through the immediate aftermath of World War II. But my interests really just criss-cross the map and timelines. Thanks for this contest. I didn’t know there WAS a daughter!

  • Though it looks like Jen beat me to it :) Consider yourself twice tagged I guess!

  • I really like really ancient history, like the Egyptians, Etruscans, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, Mayans, etc. etc. etc. But I also read a lot about the British and French monarchies; coming from a country that obviously hasn’t had this government system I find everything about them fascinating.

  • I love all historical fiction, but I especially enjoy reading about European regency. I posted about your contest HERE. Please enter me in this contest.

  • amy

    i love anything about the tudors…especially henry the 8th. i have recently become interested in marie antoinette though, and this book looks fascinating!

  • Becca

    There are a lot to choose from, Genghis Khan and the Mongols, the Vikings, feudal Japan and more but if I’m choosing one I would have to go with Ancient Greece and Rome. There is something about the Spartans and Athenians and all those crazy Roman Emperors that fascinates me.

  • Picking a favorite time period is hard for me. I just read about the 4th Crusades and that was a favorite. Now I’m reading about 1420 China and I’m liking that a lot. I have really enjoyed reading about Queen Elizabeth. There are so many interesting time periods – I just wish mine was longer so I can could more!

  • As a history student, I’m reasonably certain it’s against the law for me to pick any one favorite time. That being said, I’ve long been in love with the mid to late Victorian era, and the 1800s in general. There were so many interesting changes taking place so rapidly; it must have been so startling compared to the relative stability that preceded the Industrial Revolution. I know things change even more quickly now, but we’ve had a long time to get used to rapid innovation.

    I’m also fascinated with the Tudors, due in part to their place in popular culture, and in part to this class I took my junior year of college about Tudor and Stuart England. My professor was so knowledgable, and he shared a ton of interesting anecdotes.

    Really, European history in general interests me. I’m trying to branch out into more world history, but I confess it’s slow going sometimes.

    I’ve posted about this contest on my blog, Reading and Ruminations. The specific entry can be found here.

  • Thanks for the giveaway. Do enter me in it. I have never heard about the author. It always amazes me that there is so much to read out there.

    P.S. First time on your blog. Loving it.

  • Ah..i left out the favorite part in history due to all the excitement. I love reading about the mughals in India, the richness, the royalty, the women, the courts, everything. I also like reading about the freedom fighters in general. I like reading about the world war. Too many actually and doesn’t look like I’ll stop. So yeah, this is it for now :)

  • Hi, Meghan. Wow, it’s hard to pick my favorite part of history. Maybe the 1930’s and 1940’s.