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Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

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3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,814 Ratings  ·  2,015 Reviews
The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire . . . but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpt
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Hardcover, 446 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Crown Publishing Group
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Merrie The electronic version has discussion questions near the end of the book.
Madame Tussaud by Michelle MoranLily of the Nile by Stephanie DrayElizabeth I by Margaret GeorgeThe Second Duchess by Elizabeth LoupasDaughters of Rome by Kate Quinn
Historical Fiction 2011
1st out of 110 books — 655 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
254th out of 5,622 books — 21,775 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erin
Jan 18, 2015 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I’m willing to bet there are readers who disagree with me, but I think Michelle Moran a fabulous writer. Her style has a way of drawing you in and though I’ve no idea how, she manages to relate a lot of history without sounding like a college professor. Honestly folks, I had a lot of trouble putting Madame Tussaud down and suspect I’d have been glued to the couch my entire reading if not for the demands of a one year old.

My
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Cryselle
Jan 27, 2011 Cryselle rated it it was amazing
This is an engrossing tale about a woman who has become a byword for tourist-attraction, but was so much more in her own lifetime. This novel sheds a clear light on an amazing person and a turbulent time.

Told in first person and present tense, the book reads like a friend is telling you, moment by moment, about living through civil war and anarchy. Much closer to the main players than I had ever expected to learn, Marie Grosholtz (her maiden name) relates how so many visitors to her family's sal
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Marsha
Jan 27, 2011 Marsha rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
There was a time when I was obsessive about reading historical fiction - but at some point I found I was having a hard time finding quality works into which I might immerse myself. I am so glad that I won Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran. It has brought me back to a genre that I have missed by providing me with a very well written novel of the French Revolution.

I must say, the only thing that I struggled with was the tense. It was written in the present tense - as though all the events were unf
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Kristy
Mar 23, 2011 Kristy rated it liked it
I heart Michelle Moran! I need a T-shirt.
I think she is one of those authors you either can't get enough of or you are completely bored with. I am the first! I want to gobble up everything she writes. I loved "The Heretic Queen", "Nefertiti' and "Cleopatra's Daughter".
~But~
I wasn't overly thrilled with "Madame Tussaud". I think I would have enjoyed it more had I never read "The Hidden Diary of Mary Antoinette" or a few other French Revolution Novels. While this did bring a new light with Marie
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Cher
Mar 25, 2016 Cher rated it liked it
3.5 stars - It was really good.

Really enjoyed this historical fiction novel and learned much about both the French Revolution and Madame Tussaud. Loved seeing the cameo appearances from one of my political heroes (an oxymoron, I know), Thomas Jefferson. I found it to be easy to read, steadily paced, and historically accurate. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter that were taken from various sources during the time of the revolution were a nice touch. I do wish there would have been more t
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Tara Chevrestt
There will be 5000 reviews for this book by the time the year is out so I'm not gonna waste time summarizing. You all know what it's about by now.

What I liked:
-Moran does a superb job of transporting me to another time and place. I really felt as though I was in the streets of France watching rebellion. I gasped and placed a hand over my mouth in shock when Marie was presented with a decapitated head to mold.

-I learned a ton of things about the French Revolution and its people(Marquis de Sade,
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Carol
Dec 31, 2014 Carol rated it did not like it
I generally love Michelle Moran novels, but unfortunately not this one. I found it slow, and boring and did not make it past the first one hundred pages.......twice. With so many books to read, I've decided two times is enough.
Linda
Apr 30, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hist-fic
The name Madame Tussaud is connected worldwide with wax museums, but few of us are aware of the role she played during the darkest days of the French Revolution. Born Marie Grosholtz, as a young girl she began learning the trade of wax modeling for entertainment purposes from her mother's lover, Philippe Curtius. Marie became a renowned wax sculptor, and during her early adulthood, attended Curtius's salons, which were graced by the presence of such soon-to-be luminaries as Robespierre, Marat, a ...more
Samantha
Many people have already expressed similar views to my own on this novel, so I will be uncharacteristically brief. The main thing that I did not like about this book was the cover. I thought it should have been more indicative of the Revolution, not just some pretty lady. It's really the main reason I did not pick up this book sooner.

Madame Tussaud, or Marie Grosholz as she is through most of the novel, was in a unique position during the French Revolution that enabled her to be relatively close
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Barbara
Just when I thought I really knew a lot about history, a book like this comes along and makes me realize how little I actually do know (and how much more I want to learn!!)

I finished reading "Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution" last night. Michelle Moran is an absolutely fantastic writer, and I cannot imagine how much research she had to do in order to write this book, because there are more details included in this book than I ever expected to find. Before I started reading, I tho
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Caitlin
Feb 27, 2011 Caitlin rated it liked it
To be honest, I didn't like this one as much as I did Moran's other books set in Egypt. Part of that is that Egyptian history, and its ties to Roman history, are mush more interesting to me. Also, since much more is known about the events of the French Revolution, there was a lot more detail, and it was a little overwhelming at times. But I did enjoy learning about the origin of Madame Tussaud- to be honest, I thought she was a character made up as a marketing ploy for today's Madame Tussaud's w ...more
Angie
Feb 14, 2011 Angie rated it really liked it
I am a lucky winner of this book from the goodreads first reads program! I am so excited and looking forward to receiving it and reading it!

Let me start off my review by saying that I have loved all Michelle Moran's books. I think she is a great writer.

I really liked this one, but I can't say I loved it. Mostly because I felt our main character, Marie, was a little too cold or removed emotionally. I just can't seem to come up with an adjective to describe my feelings. I didn't feel the warmth
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Barb


I want to thank Crown Publishing for giving away copies of this book here on Goodreads First Reads. I was so excited that I was chosen to receive one of the giveaway books.

This is the first novel I've read by Michelle Moran and I think she's a very talented writer. I will be keeping an eye on what she publishes and if she puts out something that interests me I won't hesitate to pick it up.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I thought the writing was very well done and I didn't find a false note or
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Melissa Leilani Larson
The history of Marie Grosholtz (who is known to the world today as Madame Tussaud) is a fascinating and grisly one. Her perspective on the French Revolution is intriguing for many reasons: she survived, for one thing (this can't be a spoiler, folks; she's famous for surviving, and Moran's novel is in first person, so how can she not survive?). But more intriguing to me is how she survived. Was she a Royalist, whose salon was visited by the Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and who was tutor in wax ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
40 pages in, the writing was awkward and nothing in the characters or story had yet caught my attention. By my estimate, Moran is a few steps above Philippa Gregory, but that’s not saying much.

And now I am going to use the rest of this “review” as a soapbox. Ranting ahead.

1st: DECKLE EDGE PAGES. DO NOT WANT. EVEEEER!

2nd: What’s with all the illogical use of first-person present tense these days? This book has a prologue set in 1812. Then it goes back to the main story starting in 1788, and that’
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Jessica
If you haven’t heard of Madame Tussaud’s wax museums, then you need to do some Googling pronto because Madame Tussaud’s museums are about a million kinds of amazing. I’ve been to the one in Las Vegas twice (there are also museums in London, NYC, L.A., to name just a few) and both times was absolutely in awe of the wax figures and the amazing level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into them. But I’ve always wondered who was Madame Tussaud, really? I loved the museums, but knew nothing about ...more
Jennifer
Won as a goodreads giveaway!

I really, really enjoyed this. This is a historical novel, not a historical romance - which I appreciated!

It takes you through the French Revolution from the point of view of Marie Grosholtz (who later becomes Madame Tussaud under circumstances I could hardly believe!). Marie is a perfect narrator, because she straddled both sides of the revolution - the royal family and the Jacobins - which only adds to the drama of an already fraught time.

Seriously, if more history
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M
Nov 16, 2015 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's not often that I give up on a book, but after almost 400 pages I think I gave this one enough of a chance to engage me. It did not. How the author managed to turn such a fascinating period of history into such an epic bore is beyond me. Marie is dull and boring, boring, boring. That Moran depicts her as a royalist only made me despise her even more. The most interesting stuff is the factual stuff at the end. Better to read an historical account of this period rather than this, which just se ...more
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Boring, I didn’t even finish it which is extremely rare for me as I’m an optimistic reader, always hoping a book will get better once the story develops. This one just didn’t. This is the 1st novel I’ve read by Michelle Moran and I'm seeing high praise for this author in other reviews; Perhaps someone will recommend to me to another one of her books? I’d certainly give her another try as I do love historical fiction.
Alix
Mar 14, 2011 Alix rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction
For full disclosure... I won this in a First Reads Giveaway.
Overall, I enjoyed this book despite the difficulty it had in keeping my interest for lengthy periods of time. The overall story was developed well and I found the timeline writing style to be easy to follow. I enjoyed the presence of many big Revolutionary players (although I'll be the first to admit that I am no French Revolution scholar!). I certainly couldn't tell where the story deviated from actual events. I did appreciate the fin
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A.D.
Sep 19, 2013 A.D. rated it it was ok
So I'm a HUGE Michelle Moran fan, but the first 300 pages of this book took me over a month to get through because I was just so bored! I honestly was telling people, "How on earth can someone make the French Revolution so boring?!" But because I love her books and figured it had to get good, I stuck with it and I'm really glad I did. Because from around page 300 I was seriously hooked! Not a book I would ever own or suggest to someone (I'll stick with telling them about the author's Egyptian an ...more
BookCupid
Jan 21, 2015 BookCupid rated it liked it
French Revolution 101.

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
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Donna
Sep 02, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
I have read many novels by Michelle Moran. Walking into a new novel by her, I pretty much know what I'm getting. I love the research and the way she slides the facts into historical fiction. Her characters are always well described.

I liked the wax sculpting angle on this. That was kind of fun. I haven't read a lot about the French revolution. The MC seemed in the middle between the two sides causing a little ambivalence on her part. But even with that, her underlying desire was to have her busi
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Jeanette
May 22, 2015 Jeanette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
Michelle Moran's Madam Tussaud tells the story of a remarkable woman - Marie Grosholtz (later Madam Tussaud) during a turbulent and dangerous time in French history - the French Revolution culminating in the Reign of Terror. Marie is already an accomplished sculptor in clay and wax (under the tutelage of her 'uncle' Philippe Curtius). She mixes with both the royals at Versailles and the revolutionaries Robespierre, Marat, Desmoulins in her Uncle's salon, while having three brothers in the Swiss ...more
Iset
Anachronisms and historical inaccuracies have been a big problem in Moran’s past novels, and Madame Tussaud has a scattered few, none that are too major, but just enough to take away from that feeling of authenticity that all historical novelists must strive for, and they do feel quite odd in the novel’s setting. In terms of anachronisms, I caught characters using all-too modern vernacular on a couple of occasions, fortunately nothing too bad. For the most part, the niggles stayed that way, alth ...more
TheFountainPenDiva
What a wonderful way to complete this year's personal reading challenge on Goodreads! I won a galley copy of this last year from Ms. Moran and though many books came before it, this is historical fiction at its most vibrant and engaging. Let me make one thing perfectly clear--winning a galley copy from an author does not ensure that I will automatically love the book. Then again, I wouldn't enter a contest/giveaway for something I'm not interested in.

Michelle Moran has long been known for her h
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Marie
Feb 14, 2011 Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Two words: Loved it.

4.5 Stars.
Readers have many ways to hear of the atrocities of the French Revolution, but Michelle Moran's is one that should not be overlooked as among the best. Through the eyes of Marie Grosholz, the famous sculptress known later as Madame Tussaud, we become witnesses to the crimes of the anarchists who stylized themselves as Revolutionaries. With what first begins as a documentary view of the fall of the monarchy under Louis XVI, Madame Tussaud evolves into a passionate f
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Shay
Mar 16, 2011 Shay rated it it was ok
Won this in a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book was so disappointing. It didn't develop characters very well. It also engaged in some historical name dropping: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemmings, etc. Then did nothing with their characters. Could you imagine writing an historical novel and placing Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson in the same room and...nothing? Also, she didn't have a character that represented "the poor" so the novel comes across as unbalanced in favor of the monarchy. Not that the
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M
Nov 10, 2010 M rated it it was amazing
This is the best piece of historical fiction I have read thus far. Brimming with details of the French Revolution, right down to the clothes, sights and smells, Moran blends fact and fiction to tell a layered story of politics, society, royalty and lesser-known wax modeler Marie Grosholtz, the woman who would become Madame Tussaud. Today the wax museums are cheesy and touristy. Back then they were news hubs, beacons of society and the baby of a woman who, in a very modern way, aspired to a caree ...more
Meghan
I absolutely loved this book. The first page just grabs you in and it is impossible to stop thinking about the book until you have read the last page, even then, it may be hard to get this book out of your mind. I even had to read the historical note, authors note, and dictionary because I hated the fact that this book was over. It's the sort of book that you have to read because it is so amazing but at the same time, you hate the fact that the more you read it, the closer you are to the ending ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, including Madame Tussaud, which was optioned for a mini-series in 2011. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A native of southern California, Michelle attended Pomona
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More about Michelle Moran...

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“...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.” 129 likes
“Sometimes, it is not the kings and queen who make for the most fascinating history but the shadowy souls who happen to be in the right place at the right time.” 79 likes
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