I’m so sorry about taking a month off from my blog but I hope you’ll all forgive me when I reveal that the reason for my absence was a brand new book about Marie Antoinette, based on decades of pretty obsessive research (both primary and secondary) and thoughts and questions from all of you.
A couple of years ago I threatened my poor, unfortunate blog readers with a light hearted ‘pulp’ biography of Marie Antoinette, which at the time I intended to call ‘Teen Queen to Madame Guillotine’. However, other projects intervened and my plan was temporarily shelved as I worked on my historical fiction instead. I couldn’t stay away forever though as although my blog covers all sorts of different periods and people, Marie Antoinette is a subject that I often return to and one that I have always really enjoyed writing about as evidenced by the fact that my university dissertation was on the topic of different representations of her both before and after the revolution.
This book was originally intended as an extremely short biography (longer than a pamphlet but shorter than a novella) giving a basic précis of the doomed Queen’s life for readers who perhaps don’t know all that much about her (the better known biographies can be a bit impenetrable to beginners) and maybe answering some of the most commonly asked questions about her along the way. I envisioned it as a sort of ‘beach read biography’ – in other words, an entertaining and not at all weighty read that could be dipped in and out of at leisure and didn’t require a massive background knowledge of the period to be enjoyed. I wanted to convey something of Marie Antoinette’s life and times without getting too bogged down in the politics of the era, although naturally they can’t help but intrude, especially from 1789 onwards.
However, as the project developed it all got a bit out of hand and instead of my not quite a novella, I ended up with multitudes of words and what I hope is actually a nicely well rounded biography that is still just the right length to be a fun and easy read without sacrificing too much detail at the same time. I realised quite early on that the original jaunty title just wouldn’t do, although it is a nice reference to my blog’s name and instead opted for ‘An Intimate History’ as the book’s scope is intended to be intimate in both size and subject matter, drawing as it does on my particular close research over the years into Marie Antoinette’s ladies in waiting, sisters in law and friends.
I’ve already had someone ask HOW VERY DARE I, A MERE NOBODY presume to write a biography of Marie Antoinette when other, better, people have done so before and well, I don’t know but then again, why shouldn’t I? After all, I’m just as capable of using primary sources as them and to suggest otherwise is, quite frankly, pretty insulting. However, I know my place and know better than to attempt anything even approaching a ‘definitive’ biography so this is, as I said, a light and easy ‘beach read’ written in the style of my blog posts with a selective list of ‘weightier’ tomes at the back for readers who feel compelled to read more and maybe follow their own research paths.
Also, although I describe it as a ‘beach read’, I actually envision this book being read in Paris where, after all, most of it is set and so there’s an extra little list at the back of some spots in the French capital associated with Marie Antoinette, such as Bagatelle, the jewel like little château built by her brother-in-law the Comte d’Artois and the Parisian townhouses of the Duchesse de Polignac, Princesse de Lamballe and Duc de Lauzun. I love to walk in the footsteps of historical people and maybe one day I’ll expand this list to a proper book. Who knows?
Anyway, I do hope that you all enjoy it. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this. It was really only intended as an experiment to see if I could write non fiction and now that I know that I not only CAN but also thoroughly enjoy doing so, maybe I’ll produce some more. Who would you like me to write about next?
I don’t have adverts or anything like that on my blog and rely on book sales to keep it all going and help pay for the cool stuff that I feature on here so I’d like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who buys even just one copy because you are helping keeping this blog alive and supporting a starving author while I churn out more books about posh doom and woe in the past! Thanks!
As the youngest daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette was born into a world of almost unbelievable privilege and power. As wife of Louis XVI of France she was first feted and adored and then universally hated as tales of her dissipated lifestyle and extravagance pulled the already discredited monarchy into a maelstrom of revolution, disaster and tragedy. Marie Antoinette: An Intimate History is now available from Amazon US and Amazon UK
Set against the infamous Jack the Ripper murders of autumn 1888 and based on the author’s own family history, From Whitechapel is a dark and sumptuous tale of bittersweet love, friendship, loss and redemption and is available NOW from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Burning Eye.
‘Frothy, light hearted, gorgeous. The perfect summer read.’ Minette, my young adult novel of 17th century posh doom and intrigue is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US and is CHEAP AS CHIPS as we like to say in dear old Blighty.