Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.
In this biography Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, Louis XVI, the accusations and sexual slurs made against her, her patronage of the arts which enhanced French cultural life, her imprisonment, the death threats made against her, rumours of lesbian affairs, her trial (during which her young son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and her eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.
Initially I wanted to go for the abriged version as its read by Lindsay Duncan which I loved in her interpretation of Pride & Prejudice. Eventually I bought the long version read by Eleanor Bron and I have to say I absolutely love it! there are some tiny mistakes in editing but that does not make the book less fascinating. If you are interested in history and want to get more insights about the love-hate figure of the French Revolution than this is for you. I bought this book about a month ago and listen to it for the 3rd time at the moment...