Monday, December 2, 2013

Mini Review: Madame Tussaud

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

Release Date: February 15, 2011
Pages: 446
Genre: Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Adult
Series: No
Source and Format: Bought; Nook eBook

Summary (From Goodreads)
Smart and ambitious, 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, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

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? And 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?

Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.

Thoughts on Madame Tussaud 
Let's cut to the chase--I LOVED this book! I was initially drawn to it because of the gorgeous cover, because let's face it, if I lived in France in the 1700s, I would be wearing that gorgeous yellow gown

What I really loved about this book was how much I learned about the French Revolution and what life was like for the people living through it without feeling like I was reading a history book. Marie was a fascinating character, and her connection with the royal family made my understanding of the Revolution from the aristocratic side so much more dynamic. I know this novel is historical fiction and not to be considered fact, but I've read many reviews praising Moran for her commitment to historical accuracy, and after reading just one of her novels, I would have to agree. I loved how she incorporated maps, epigraphs, and a glossary at the end to make for a well-rounded experience, but those things are hard to enjoy with an eBook (like in my case), so I would recommend getting this one in print if you are looking to add it to your shelves.

My only disappointment with the book is the timing of the ending, which I thought was rather abrupt. As I read through the epilogue, I would have liked to see more details of Marie's life in England in the actual novel. I would highly recommend this book if you like historical fiction or anything related to the French Revolution. I am excited to dive into another one of Moran's novels soon! 

Memorable Quote
“But we are all sorry when loss comes for us. The test of our character comes not in how many tears we shed, but in how we act after those tears have dried.”

Disclosure: This review was originally published on my lifestyle blog on December 17, 2012. 


  1. This book has been sitting on my TBR shelf FOREVER. It's been like three years at least. At one point, I think I read a couple pages of it and it didn't click, so I set it down and read something else. But it seems like something I would love, so I really want to go back and try it again. Great review :)

    1. Thanks, Miranda! And yes, this is DEFINITELY worth a second try! There are sections that are a litter slower than others, but overall I really loved this book and the unique perspective it offered on the French Revolution. You'll have to let me know when you pick it up again. :)

  2. Ah, Lesley Anne. This book has been on my TBR for ages! I think a friend bought it for me for Christmas a few years ago and I STILL haven't read it yet. With your ringing endorsement, I now know that I clearly need to make this one a priority in 2014.

    1. YES! Promise me you will pretty please read it sometime this year! I think you will love it. :)