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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  9,124 ratings  ·  1,078 reviews
"Like everyone, I am born naked."

With this opening line of Naslund's compelling new novel, a very human Marie Antoinette invites readers to live her story as she herself experiences it. From the lush gardens of Versailles to the lights and gaiety of Paris, the verdant countryside of France, and finally the stark and terrifying isolation of a prison cell, the young
Hardcover, 556 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  9,124 ratings  ·  1,078 reviews

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Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This was an audiobook and I enjoyed it so very much! It was beautifully written, very poetic. Marie was only 14 when she was married off to the prince of Austria to fulfill the promise of a French-Austrian alliance.

At the beginning the people of France loved her. She was a singular beauty and her husband was gentle and young, coming after the reign of his grandfather who was a dictator and a man abhorred by many people for his constant contingency of females and his lack of interest in
BAM The Bibliomaniac
We begin at the age of 14, the innocence and exuberance of the first days of entering France. Her affection and friendship are immediate for her husband, Louis, the dauphin. Days are spent in splendor: hunting, shopping, gossiping, etc.
There seems to be nothing serious occurring in her life until the death of the current king, Louis XV, creating her husband the reigning monarch and herself queen. But even then finances are far from her mind. This is the point when I realize that Jutland had
With this book I got into the head of Marie Antoinette. The author did all the research and based on the known facts delivered what she thought was going on in Marie Antoinette's head. She convinced me. At the end of the book is a list of source material, "A Brief Timeline of Events" and an interesting conversation with the author. Don't skip this; it is really good.

The historical facts are clearly presented. You follow Marie from her coming to France as a naïve fourteen year old to her death at
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: women
This was a very thin book -- interesting, but thin.

And I don't mean it was a slim volume of delicate prose. It was watery and lacked important detail and missed the ambition of Naslund's "Ahab's Wife."

With so many interesting and picturesque moments during the pre-French Revolution years, with all the excess and religious upheaval and all the parallels and differences betwixt the American and French Revolutions, Naslund chose to focus on Marie Antoinette's wardrobe and constant remodeling of
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've just begun this book, and--contrary to some reviews--I love the measured voice. It's beautifully written, beautifully observed. I loved Ahab's Wife, as well, and Abundance has that same remarkable quality of pulling you gently into another world. Sena Jeter Naslund is a wonderful writer.
May 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
While astutely researched and poetically written, this basic issue with this book is that hardly anything happens in it 600 pages. Though highly sympathetic to Marie Antoinette, it failed to endear me to her throughout the course of the novel, and I was relieved upon her final beheading that I had, at least, finished this ponderous and meandering portrayal of a far more exotic and scandalous woman than is to be found anywhere in the pages of "Abundance."
May 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: historical fiction buffs, feminists
Drawing from the same perspectival material as Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, this treatment of Marie Antoinette's life paints a sympathetic picture of France's girl queen. Unfortunately, it's also a boring one. Since Naslund's take is almost identical to Coppola's (sometimes eerily so), I recommend skipping the 600-page snoozefest and going with the two-hour movie, which at least features pretty dresses and New Wave tunes.
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars for the sweeping epic life story of Marie Antoinette, so beautifully told by Sena Jeter Naslund. I just loved this. For lovers of historical fiction, Sena is a beautiful writer. I hadn't known much at all about Marie Antoinette, but wasn't she a wonderful character? One can really see her inner mind, as these events were forming around her. She became queen at 14 years old. The book opens with this wonderful image of how the ceremony begins on an island between the two countries, where ...more
Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Marie Antoinette has intrigued me for years and I have read countless books about her, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Told in diary form, this book provides a rare, intimate insight into the life of the Queen; her most private thoughts and feelings from the moment she steps onto French land at the young age of fourteen, to the moment she meets her tragic fate. Although it is fiction, it's clear that the author did her homework and based much of what she wrote on actual ...more
Jescee Bennett
Jan 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Wow! This book was a struggle for me. At first I hated it, because i didn't like the author's style in writing the story. Once I got used to it, it all fell into place. This story really was good. It's a story about Marie Antoinette and her life as the queen of France until the French Revolution. Throughout the book I felt sorry for her and how misunderstood she was, not only by the people of France, but throughout history. I gained a new respect for her and Louis XVI. This is definitely a ...more
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot less than I was expecting to. I had read and loved Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits, so I knew I liked the author. But it was kind of like getting stuck talking to someone boring at a party.

The book is told in the first person from Marie Antoinette's point-of-view. I don't know if it was Naslund's goal to make her likable or sympathetic, but she came off as self-centered, petty, and oblivious, even if (as Naslund points out in the forward) she didn't actually say "Let them
Jun 18, 2007 rated it did not like it
this book is so poorly written it makes me want to puke. i got to page five and hurled it across the room. with 600 pages to it's name, it made a loud noise. the opening sequence is of the famous handover of marie to her new party. she describes her nipples in detail, her pubescent body. dude, she's 14. i am not about hearing this. and for no reason. i feel free to criticise naslund's style because i read "ahab's wife" and was equally offended. that's right. offended. in ahab's wife naslund ...more
Just arrived from US trough BM.

It took me some time to go through the plot of this book. The beginning was a little boring since Antoinette's story was interlaced quite a lot with her mother's letters. The plot flows more naturally after Marie Therese death. Since I've already read Antonia Fraser's book, both stories are complementary in the sense that in Fraser's story, Antoinette biography is ended by the Royal family escape to Varennes and in Naslund's her prison and execution is described in
Jane Greene
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Recommended to Jane by: Timberland library book club
Shelves: bookclub
This book was difficult in the beginning. Since it is written as spoken by Marie Antoinette it was filled with statements starting with "I". At first it was quite redundant and then I began to realize it was a brilliant way to tell her a self-centered way. The author does a wonderful job telling how Marie's life was very sheltered and lavish. She portrays Marie as an innocent naive young girl going from her very restricted and sheltered environment as a child, to meeting her new ...more
Mar 03, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was ok. It was ok in the beginning, ok in the middle, and ok at the end. Honestly, nothing about this book really stood out to me. It was interesting learning more about the time period and sort of about the lifestyle of the court, but I didn't find the story as it was written to be particularly moving. In the beginning of the book, Marie Antoinette is portrayed as this naive, innocent girl whom everyone loves. By the end she is a naive woman who everyone hates. I guess I can see how ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An utterly delicious and satisfying read. Of course, given the book is about Marie Antoinette, we all know how it ends. But I really loved the buildup. This book is long as it takes us from when she first goes to France at 14 all the way up to her death. But it was a very fast read. Some of the viewpoints feel immature/childish but it's written from her POV so I think it's intentional given how young she was when this all began to unfold. There was a lot I didn't know about her and her marriage, ...more
Noran Miss Pumkin
So far, lovely reader--very detailed --like a dairy. 15 Cds--was far cheaper than the book-via ebay.

June 2nd, 2011. I feel the book would have rated 3 stars, but he lovely reader, via the BBC-makes this love tale of Marie Annoinette a pleasure and a delight to listen to. The florid details of the author, while tiresome when reading, come alive with the audio. I came see the palaces and gardens so easily. I see how Marie started early on causing her later demise. The history is most accurate, and
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent book, I recommend it highly. The author does a marvelous job telling the story from the perspective of Marie Antoinette herself, beginning with the day that she leaves her home in Austria as a very young teenager.
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, royalty
Firstly the picture of the cover of the book does it no justice, it's truly beautiful and textured so that it feels wonderful in the hand.

The author is sympathetic to Marie Antoinette even through the period of her worse excesses, this was an okay read. The depth of research is impressive, but ultimately we learn nothing new. At times the voice of Marie Antoinette seemed a little too vapid, too self-centred.

Obviously we all know how the story ends but I admit to being bored in the last third
This was a novel about the life of Marie Antoinette from the time she arrived in France as the fourteen year old Austrian betrothed to the Dauphin, to her death by guillotine after being found guilty of high treason during the French Revolution in 1793. For those curious, this is definitely in the historical fiction genre, not historical romance. French history has always fascinated me. I visited both Versailles and the Conciergerie prison in the 1990s while in France, and it’s fun for me to try ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Dec 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Pat
What I knew about Marie Antoinette before reading this book (spoilers ahead if you don't know anything at all about her): She was married to Louis XVI, she said "Let them eat cake," she was queen during the French Revolution, and (possible spoiler here)-------------------------she was beheaded. That was it.

Three out of four isn't bad. She never actually said "Let them eat cake." According to the author, it was the wife of Louis XIV, two generations earlier, who said that. So, if you ever win
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
At the age of fourteen, Princess Maria Antonia of Austria was sent to France to be married to the fifteen-year-old Dauphin (crown prince) Louis Auguste, thus forging an alliance between their countries and re-christening her as the French Dauphine, Marie Antoinette. Such alliances are cemented by producing heirs, but it takes several years and ascension to the throne before this marriage is consummated successfully, and a second pregnancy before a prince is born. The queen-to-be diverts herself ...more
Kayte Korwitts
Nov 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Even if I hadn't read the author bio, I definitely recognized the power of the poet in this novel. There were several points throughout my reading of this where I stopped after a sentence and repeated it aloud to myself. The prose is glitteringly gorgeous and positively bleeds romance. Naslund's Antoinette is a passive, crystalline creature whose unfailing adherence to etiquette and good manners speaks more to the times she lived in than to the essence of her character. She's distant although ...more
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not the typical tale of Marie Antoinette. Did you know she didn't actually say "let them eat cake?" I was shocked -- that's all I really knew about Marie Antoinette... well, and the bit about the guillotine. This author portrays her as a kind, loving, compassionate queen, born to love and lead, ultimately giving all for France. I found this book fascinating, more than a little disturbing (in a way I can't completely describe) and actually a page turner, just as the cover promised.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Teeth are a key point in the pantheon of beauty.

Drinking their glasses of wine, the others relax and shed their fatigue with the imbibing. Though I am tempted to join them, I remember my promise to my mother, and I know that in this she is right. I will never drink wine. Draw your gaiety from your own heart, she told me, “Be chaste in this matter and you will never regret the pure clarity of your mind.”

“Can two people share the same delusion?” I ask. “Yes,” he says. “A hundred can share
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that I enjoyed while reading, but have almost nothing to say about afterward. The writing was good, but there was nothing standout that I feel I need to talk about. If you enjoy reading about Marie Antionette (as I do) then you'll likely find this engaging. It wasn't particularly moving, but it did paint an interesting picture of the Queen. She is spoiled and spends vast amounts of money, yet considers herself economical and did seem to truly care for the people of her ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, fiction, 2017
To say that I disliked the first half of this book would be understatement. I trudged through it from time to time, finding that I severely disliked the queen and disgusted at how the court lived while the commoners of the country was scraping by. I shuddered at their ignorance, perhaps because I know how it ends. Once things started to fall apart around them, I found myself drawn in to the story, like a horror movie where you know that no one will make it to the end. And therein I saw with ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I would like to have liked this book more. It is subtitled, "a novel of Marie Antoinette," and I didn't know much about her, so I was excited that this was picked for our library's History Book Club. However, I don't think I learned much more about her than I already knew. The novel didn't really, at least for me, give any real sense of the woman. Was she naive and ignorant or cunning and profligate? Did she understand how the people of France felt or just put on a good face when confronted? Did ...more
This extremely thorough but fictionalized account of the life of Marie Antoinette was just ok for me.
The dialogue felt dry and the pace was too slow.
Also some of the internal dialogue was just odd. The entire birth scene of Madam Royale is just ludicrous.
I've had natural childbirth. It's not at all dreamy. It's painful and hardwork.
I'd definitely read another book by this author.
Marcia Esser
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such an amazing book! Full of rich detail and history! Marie Antoinette is such a tragic heroine . This book was beautifully descriptive! I heartily recommend it!
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Play Book Tag: Abundance by Sena Jeter Nasland - 4.5 stars 5 18 May 31, 2018 03:41PM  
Naslund: Most pretentious writer ever? 9 91 Jun 03, 2014 02:58PM  

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Sena Jeter Naslund is the New York Times best-selling author of five novels, including Ahab's Wife (1999) and Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette (HarperCollins, 2006). She is currently Distinguished Teaching Professor and Writer in Residence at the University of Louisville and program director of the Spalding University brief-residency Master in Fine Arts in Writing. Recipient of the Harper ...more
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“Where there is a lack of other connections, of meaningful moments, in our lives, music can often full the gap.” 13 likes
Mortality is a cause for humility, she said to me. None of us knows when he might be taken, as your blessed father was taken. Death, like birth, comes to us all, regardless of rank or station in life. 8 likes
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