Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Little” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  6,136 ratings  ·  989 reviews
The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy street
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Riverhead Books (first published October 4th 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Little, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cassandra Kavanagh This book is beautiful ,odd, surreal and strange re-imagining of Madame Tussauds life; a work of incredible fiction embroidered with some historical f…moreThis book is beautiful ,odd, surreal and strange re-imagining of Madame Tussauds life; a work of incredible fiction embroidered with some historical facts. It is richly littered with peculiar illustrations that hugely enhance the story and would be lost in the audio version. I suggest you enjoy the book for the wonderfully weird creation that it is and find your facts about her elsewhere.(less)
Sarah There's some sex (not graphic). A lot of violence (extremely graphic). There are a few illustrations of breasts that I found a bit creepy, only becaus…moreThere's some sex (not graphic). A lot of violence (extremely graphic). There are a few illustrations of breasts that I found a bit creepy, only because they weren't portraits, just isolated body parts. (The illustrations are meant to look as though they were taken from a sketch book.)

I was considering this as a gift for my middle school age niece. I guess it would be okay for her to read it, but it wouldn't be an appropriate gift.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,136 ratings  ·  989 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Little
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not long ago I read a biography of Mme Tussaud, and though it was interesting, there was some dryness in it due to the fact that the author incorporated a lot of history into the book, which is understandable taking into consideration in when Marie lived and how much the Revolution affected her life. LITTLE is at the other end of the stick. The novel is about Marie and how she saw the world. If I were asked to use just one word that best describes this novel, I would choose ‘observations’. Marie ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Greendale
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
A fictionalized retelling of Madame Tussaud, known for her wax figures of famous (and infamous) persons, sprinkled with grim illustrations and wry observations. Carey initially hooks his audience with the amusing, macabre first-person voice of young Madame Tussaud, christened Anne Marie Grosholtz at birth. The early years of her life - filled with sorrow, gore and intrigue - are easily the best chapters of the book.

However, the narrative really slows down around the midpoint and, shifting into
(4.5) Little is Edward Carey’s deliciously macabre novel about Madame Tussaud, who starts life as Anne Marie Grosholtz in Switzerland in 1761 and loses both parents by the age of six. Known as Marie, she soon picks up the nickname “Little” at the studio where she helps Dr. Philip Curtius make wax anatomical models. When the indebted Curtius flees to Paris, Marie goes with him as his servant. Along with their landlady, a tailor’s widow named Charlotte Picot, and her son Edmond, they form a makesh ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Little did I know when starting this book that there would be little historical accuracy within its pages and little regard for the reader when the author was more bent on writing a farce than anything resembling a true to life story with well developed characters who speak in natural dialogue. Instead, the author has created what reads like a stage play, peopled by one dimensional marionettes that jump to his tune.

How did I find out this book was inaccurate when it came to chronicling the life
Little is a re-imagining of the woman behind the famous tourist attraction: Madame Tussauds, a wax museum that displays wax sculptures of famous people and popular characters. Loosely based, Little follows this resilient woman from birth as Anne Marie Grosholtz to age eighty-nine as Marie Tussaud, along with the transformation of an abandoned monkey house into the start of a wax empire. French culture, history, royalty, war, death, art, life, and all melts together in this lengthy piec ...more
Heidi The Reader
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A historical fiction novel about Madame Tussaud, otherwise known as Anne Marie Grosholtz, and how she became a legendary wax maker.

"I was not much bigger, at first, than the size of my mother's little hands put together, and I was not expected to live very long. And yet, after I survived my first night, I went on, despite contrary predictions, to breathe through my first week." pg 14, ebook

And though it is "historical fiction," rather than biography, Edward Carey has written many true facts into
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The description of Edward Carey’s Little intrigued me. It sounded like something I would enjoy, and the GR reviews were terrific. I hadn’t, however, read any reviews from critics so I was still a bit wary and approached the novel not knowing what to expect. It took me by surprise and caught me totally off-guard. I was immediately captivated by the story of the orphaned Marie, known as Little due to her small stature, and the numerous hardships she faced as the apprentice/servant of a wax sculpto ...more
So I learned not only that your loved one may be forbidden you, given away to someone else, but also that though you love someone they may run from you, and you may open your arms but they shall not come in. The Élisabeth I loved was no longer. What was left was a shell, a plaster personage. Hollow. Inside was nothing but stale air unable to get out. How I wished to crack her open.

Edward Carey's fictional version of Madame Tussaud's life, stuffed to the gills with quirky detail though it was, f
Diane S ☔
I am at 40% and for now am putting it down. Will come back to it after the holidays as it seems to take more concentration than I have available right now.
Cindy Burnett
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Little is the tale of Madame Tussaud (born Anne Marie Grosholtz) from her young life as an orphan through her time at Versailles with King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and then ultimately as the individual who established the wax museum she is still known for today. Carey includes clever drawings of various items throughout the book relating to the subject at hand, some fascinating and others at times a bit macabre, and each drawing adds depth to the book. My favorite part of the book is the i ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book fact and fiction were melted together. I didn't mind and thoroughly enjoyed the story. Beautiful drawings.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am astounded. I am charmed. I am awaiting the manifestation of pure joy this enchanting book will be for the ages. Anne Marie Grosholtz is as tall as the human heart but her outlook is to the moon. Orphaned at a young age, this child is apprenticed to a physician whose wax modeling lends a twist of the macabre and is a precursor to Marie’s wondrous involvement with French royalty, a revolution, and museums. Complete with elucidating illustrations, Little is a bold imagining of Madame Tussaud. ...more
Betsy Robinson
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
None of us had a large understanding of the tides of man; each knew only his little portion. For some it was hair, for others teeth; one concentrated on eyes, another on paint; one mixed the wax, another prepared the plaster. No one could see beyond his own individual station. Only together did we make the anatomy of a city in change; only together did we render things legible to all. (336)
I was wondering what kept author Edward Carey dedicated for the fifteen years it took to birth this remarka
lucky little cat
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone except stickler historians (Not even Tussaud knew the facts of her life)
Recommended to lucky little cat by: Gloria
Ooh, it's just stuffed with stuff. Wax heads of the famous and infamous, scruffy orphans, hide-and-seek in Versailles,
Young Marie Tussaud with her doll Marta, Edward Carey's loving "fake Jacques-Louis David portrait." Marie's covering her face to preserve a little privacy, but also to hide how much she looks like Carey.

plasterer's craft, Enlightenment philosophers, inky fingerprints, peg dolls and mannikins, creaky attic ateliers, secret friendships, one wistful boy, Empress Jose
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.4 stars which rounds down to a 2.

This novel, which according to the author was 15 years in the making, started off as interesting, intriguing, and promising and then over the course of 200 pages became tedious — the rules which govern my life do not allow me to abandon a book (unless the author starts writing word salad) so I had to read the next 200 pages, which I felt was even more tedious. because by then I was in a bad mood! 🙁 I should note that this author was on my radar screen 20 years
Judith E
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a slow start for me because Maria Grosholtz (later evolving into Madame Tussaud) starts her trade by making wax replicas of diseased or removed body parts. It was quite grotesque and the characters and speech patterns were strange and baffling. But after that, I found this to be an extremely addicting read.

Maria starts her trade while an orphan, horribly treated by her guardians. She hones her skills and absorbs the training in order to garner praise. Her life’s journey takes her throu
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not the kind of person that wants to go look at celebrity or famous figures at a waxworks museum so I wouldn’t normally have chosen this book out of the pile of historical fiction to read right now. However, a good friend here on GR recently read it and loved it so I thought I would trust his rare 5 star rating and give it a try. I also know nothing about the French revolution and much less about Madam Tussaud. This is a long and educational book for the likes of me and whilst I did look up ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5, rounded down.

This is a lively, entertaining and informative look at the life of Madame Tussaud, of the waxworks fame, and for the most part I really enjoyed it. The beginning I found slow, and there were certain sections which were a bit plodding and could have used some judicious editing. And although it apparently was based on both Madame's own memoirs and exhaustive research into records of the period, Carey fictionalizes the story quite a bit (according to a quick read of her Wikipedia
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Edward Carey’s Little is a pleasure to read: a wonderful story, well told, carefully structured, and beautifully illustrated with Carey’s own drawings. Set in eighteenth century Switzerland, France, and England, Little introduces us to a cast of characters, each distinctive and dramatic, who develop and mature over almost ninety years. At Little’s center, there’s “Little”— Anne Marie Grosholtz—herself. Born to a striving servant, indentured to Doctor Curtius, a failed physician and wax modeler o ...more
The fact it took me over a month to read has nothing to do with how much i enjoyed this book. In fact my eye-reading life hasn’t been very active lately and I’ve been amazed to find I held the flow of the story and characters in my mind between one reading session and the next, despite having no memory whatsoever usually. But Edward Carey’s storytelling is quirky and especially appealing to me so that it just “sticks” somehow. There’s a very high probability the extra “sticky” factor comes in pa ...more
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
4,5 stars

This novel turned out to be such a pleasant surprise for me, the wonderful, strange and all around fascinating story of Little, later known to the whole world as Madame Tussaud. This book captivated me, made laugh and cry, I rooted for Marie so hard throughout the whole book because she's such an amazing and peculiar woman, you want her to succeed and be happy. This particular novel mostly tells in detail her life in France, before she opened her own business in London. And I'd love to
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Abandoned at 50%. Historical fiction based on the life of Madame Tussaud. I didn't like the writing style: it was all "telling", not "showing". Although there were a ton of quirky characters, I didn't feel like I got to know any of them. They just felt flat and lifeless. Even Marie ("Little") seemed very distant, and so I couldn't really sympathize with her. I did enjoy the illustrations in the book.
Jennifer Blankfein
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Please follow all my reviews on

Little is an unusual story of a determined young girl who makes a life for herself against all odds. After her father dies, Marie (Little) and her mom go to live with a reclusive and peculiar doctor, Curtius who creates objects out of wax. When Marie’s mother dies, she stays on as his apprentice. The tides turn financially for the doctor and he loses his funding from the hospital, so the unlikely twosome head to Paris. With th
MaryannC. Book Freak
4.5 Stars

I absolutely loved this! This was my first Edward Carey read and I was enthralled with it!
I loved Little's character, her narration as she grows up to become the famous historical figure known as Madame Tussaud. This was a little macabre, but so enjoyable and well written, also loved the sketches throughout which it added to the visualization of this story. Recommended
JD Mitchell
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is like Wes Anderson made a movie and then Charles Dickens turned it into a novel. It’s quirky and the writing is good, but it just didn’t do it for me. The main characters reminded me of the wax figures they create: lifelike and interesting to look at, but disappointing if you expect them to do anything or change very much. I knew this was a novelization of the woman who became Madam Tussaud, so I kept waiting for the titular character to grow into herself, to assert herself, but except fo ...more
Retired Reader
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a new favorite book! This is so different from the books I've been reading lately! While trying to compose my review in my head, I ran across this review that says it better than I could, so I quote:
"Little is that rare thing - a unique novel with a unique and fully-realised voice, rich in deadpan wit and surgically precise observation. By turns tragic, bizarre and deeply moving, Little introduces readers to a heroine like no other and a book that will truly last. It is an absolute deligh
This book really dragged, the narrator saved it. It's also so loosely based on Madam Tussaud but on the flip side it did make me curious to check out something else about her, and maybe some more books about the French Revolution. There were some interesting moments, but the characters were poorly written and I just found myself annoyed by everyone. It was mentioned one character died at 39 and I was shocked at his age because he read as so much younger.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, I love her. Marie has such a wonderful, sharp, eccentric little voice (no pun intended), and she lives in an incredible time in French history. The art is a delightful addition—it fits right in with Marie’s personality. Just marvelous.
Karen Mace
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a way to start off my reading year in 2019! This was an astonishing piece of historical fiction and I cannot recommend this highly enough as I'm sure you'll fall in love with 'Little' Marie as she comes from very humble beginnings to being part of the world of wax that still lives on now!

When Marie loses both parents before she turns 6, she finds herself taken under the wing of Doctor Curtius, a peculiar and quirky man who creates body parts from wax, and their bond is particularly touching
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Once Upon a River
  • Hamnet
  • What Does Rain Smell Like?
  • Melmoth
  • Bowlaway
  • Things in Jars
  • The Dutch House
  • The Familiars
  • Ghost Wall
  • The Mercies
  • Washington Black
  • The Warlow Experiment
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer
  • Blackberry & Wild Rose
  • The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
  • Bunny
See similar books…
Edward Carey is a writer and illustrator who was born in North Walsham, Norfolk, England, during an April snowstorm. Like his father and his grandfather, both officers in the Royal Navy, he attended Pangbourne Nautical College, where the closest he came to following his family calling was playing Captain Andy in the school’s production of Showboat. Afterwards he joined the National Youth Theatre a ...more

Related Articles

It’s rare that a debut novel gets the kind of love and attention that Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, which spanned centuries and continents, received. Her...
77 likes · 13 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“What casual monsters we are. What calamities we are capable of.” 10 likes
“Here is a truth: people are very fascinated by themselves.” 4 likes
More quotes…