JoLee's Reviews > Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
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's review
May 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, e-book
Read in May, 2012

A couple of months ago Sarah and Deblina of Stuff You Missed in History Class did a podcast on Madame Tussaud. She was a really fascinating figure who weathered the French Revolution by being very, very smart and cautiously playing both sides. Also, she was an amazing artist and savvy businesswoman.

The novel follows Marie Grosholtz's (Tussaud is her married name) life from 1789 until 1794. (With an epilogue outlining the rest of her career--you will learn more about this part of her life if you listen to the podcast.) Marie learns wax modeling from her uncle, Philippe Curtius, and together they run and maintain their Salon. Marie works for the king's sister, Madame Elisabeth, as a tutor. At the same time she and her family are hosting folks like Robespierre, Camille Desmoulins, Marat, and the Duc d'Orleans in their home every Tuesday evening. They truly are keeping a foot in both worlds. Marie meets all sorts of famous people like Jefferson and Lafayette. As the Revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror ensues, Marie and her family have to be very, very careful. They must change their exhibition constantly to keep up with who is in power. They have to make death masks of the more famous and infamous people who were sentenced to the guillotine.

The details of the French Revolution (which is rather difficult to follow because of all the swift changes in leadership) are explained really well. There is a lot of history in this book, maybe more than some would like.

Madame Tussaud is definitely a really interesting historical figure. Read the novel if you want lots of details or listen to the podcast (I love the Stuff You Missed in History Podcasts) for a briefer, but very thorough, synopsis of her life

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message 1: by LeiAnn (new) - added it

LeiAnn I love history, especially European history emphasizing strong female characters. I think I will have to check this one out.

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