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Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution Paperback – Dec 27 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (Dec 27 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307588661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307588661
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Certain to be a breakout book for Moran, this superbly written and plotted work is a welcome addition to historical fiction collections. The shocking actions and behavior required of Tussaud to survive the revolution make the novel a true page-turner and a perfect reading group choice."--Library Journal, starred review

"This is a first-class novel, brilliantly written, and Michelle Moran has authentically evoked an era, infusing her narrative with passages of gripping and often horrifying drama, set in one of history's most brutal periods. The scope of the author's research is staggering, but you won't need to get to the notes at the end to realize that. As historical novels go, this is of the first rank--a page-turner that is both vividly and elegantly written. I feel privileged to be able to endorse it."—Alison Weir, author of Eleanor of Aquitane

"Moran’s latest is an excellent and entertaining novel steeped in the zeitgeist of the period. Highly recommended."--Historical Novels Review, Editors' Choice

"This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times. A feat for Francophiles and adventurers alike."--Publishers Weekly

"Madame Tussaud...is brought to life in this well-crafted, fast-paced novel by the talented Michelle Moran...Michelle Moran has done what few novelists have been successfully able to accomplish, and that is to depict the full range of the swift political changes that occurred in the few years from the fall of the Bastille to the beheading of the king. Madame Tussaud promises to be a breakout book for this talented writer—a novel that is both a gripping fictionalized biography of an intriguing woman and a well-paced, illuminating chronicle of the French Revolution."--New York Journal of Books  

"Well-plotted...Mannered and elegant; reminiscent in many ways of novels of days long past."--Kirkus

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

MICHELLE MORAN was a public high school teacher for six years and is currently a full-time writer living in California. She is the author of the national bestseller Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I have gone to Madam Tussaud's wax museum quite a few times and will admit, that in a creepy way, it's fascinating. Standing next to famous people, seeing how tall, the nuances of their features is interesting. I especially love to see the historical characters. However now, after reading the book I understand the historical importance of her wax figures and tableaux she created. When there was no television, people needed a way to reference the major players of the day. The wax museum brought these characters to life. This gave the public a way to identify important people, and helped them understand and many times, swayed them in political thinking. Originally a form of entertainment, Madam Tussaud became a key figure in the revolution, swept up in the storm of the times, her rare talent making her a major player in the upheaval that shook France.
Moran's book does the same thing. Fleshing out the star players, her words make them as three dimensional as wax figures and we can understand the fury of the times. Excellent book, and gives a interesting perspective of the French revolution.
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By Toni Osborne TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 13 2012
Format: Paperback
''A Novel of the French Revolution''

''Madame Tussaud'' is set during a difficult and complicated time in French history when the population became more and more dissatisfied with the monarchy. While the subjects were hit with rising taxes and left starving and had little to call their own, the royals were spending foolishly and living high of the hog. The masses became so discouraged with the direction of the country, they reached a point where they did not trust or support anything King Louis XV1 and Queen Marie Antoinette did. This was a very volatile and dangerous time; France was on a downhill spiral and the ensuing events left its mark on history for ever.

The story is mainly of Marie Grosholtz, a talented artist who worked at her family wax museum sculpting figures that reflected events of the time: Paris late 1780's. This was a very trying time for their profession and their Salon de Cire, in order to make a living and protect the family they had to walk a very fine line between two distinctive groups with opposing agendas. One group was the royalty with an endless supply of money and the other was represented by Robespierre and Marat, the two notorious revolutionary instigators whose propaganda speeches eventually bring the population to rise against the monarchy.

It didn't take long for the situation to get out of hands. The ruling class retaliated by implementing the guillotine and went from town to town massacring all those in their way but eventually the people with their numbers overran the Bastille'. During this period, Marie was mandated to prepare the death masks of prominent people who were recently beheaded but soon became unable to do this gruesome task, there was no apparent end in sight.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't understand the glowing reviews of this book. It's well-written, but treads already well-travelled territory (the French Revolution). It doesn't reveal anything exceptional or new about Madame Tussaud: and she is characterized as a self-protective collaborator who is "just following orders" and, not surprisingly, comes to regret her poor choices.
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Format: Hardcover
Studied French, lived and worked several years in Paris, yet always felt bewildered by the characters and sequence of chaotic events during the French Revolution. The story of Mme Tussaud, as written by Michelle Moran, makes the principle characters of the Revolution come alive, and their positions, motives and interactions believable. The main character's salon is a focal point for casual meetings that
evolve; for some members into political testing grounds. Caution, ambivalence, love, anger, fear, uncertainty fill the pages. The chronicles reveal increasingly radical positions and fierce demagoguery, ultimately leading to brutal violence. The names of the historical figures are well known, but now they've become real as well as getting a sense of the excrutiating tragedies that occurred as the French stumbled towards liberty.
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Format: Paperback
Although the beginning of the story involves Marie Grosholtz's life and how she became to be such a talented wax sculptor, it soon turned into a he said/she said thing. Most of the people visiting the Wax museum would let on many secrets so that we could understand the plotting of the revolution. Then, as Marie would go to tutor at Versailles, the royalty would tell her their secrets. Eventually, it became a great documentary. But as far as Madame Tussaud's story ended, it felt rushed. Her marriage and flee from France was only commented on. Wish I could have learned more about her.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was delivered within the quoted time frame.
The novel, itself, is well researched and believable. Moran's storyline, character development, and prose don't disappoint.
I found I preferred her Egyptian novels, however, as this book seemed a bit more real and rather disturbing in places. Maybe the fact it is disturbing is further praise to Moran's superb writing abilities...
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