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Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  21,196 ratings  ·  2,421 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 sculpting
Hardcover, 446 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Crown Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Michelle Moran has left me gobsmacked! Why is this author now one of my favorite writers of historical fiction?

1. Character portrayal - Centered around Marie Grosholtz (aka Madame Tussaud), the reader learns how this renowned woman was involved during the French Revolution, from tutoring King Louis XVI's sister to entertaining revolutionary figures such as Robespierre, Marat and the Marquis de Lafayette in her family's Salon de Cire, all the while showcasing her talent of constructing wax figur
Historical Fiction
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.

Dec 19, 2010 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
Dec 15, 2010 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
April Kennedy
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I ever read by Michelle Moran, after it caught my eye in the library, I have since read everything by her, and refer to her as one of my all time favorite authors.
Love her work, and fully suggest you buy every copy of every book, like I did!
Dec 09, 2010 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".
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
Amanda Hupe
Jul 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021-reads
“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.”

The French Revolution is one of the most fascinating, yet heartbreaking moments in history. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran is a historical fiction that showcases one of the most famous woman from that time. We all know Madame Tussaud for her wax museum that are still around today but she was a real woman who witnessed the
Aug 28, 2012 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. ...more
The story of Madame Tussaud is masterfully intertwined with a gruesome depiction of the French Revolution.
Absolutely brilliant.....I felt completely caught up in this story of the famous sculptress who was forced to become so closely and grotesquely involved in the horrors of The French Revolution.
I felt that I came to know Madame Tussaud and her family, as they struggled to survive in the frighteningly dangerous place Paris had become.....I could feel the tension and dread as the momentous events of this political and social upheaval spiralled out of control....for me this book was Historical Ficti
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.


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’
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at the woman as she lived through the French Revolution. The wax figures made by her and her uncle helped tell Parisians the news of the time and we come across many famous names who modelled for her- Robespierre, Rousseau, the Marquis de Sade, Thomas Jefferson. She was quite an unusual woman of the time, ambitious and business focused. The research involved in a book such as this must have been extensive.
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,
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
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I must confess that I was a little apprehensive about reading this novel... I love Michelle Moran but was not really looking forward to reading about wax figures!!! Boy, am I glad I went against my first impressions!!! This novel was a fascinating looking into the French Revolution from start to finish through the eyes of Marie (Madame Tussaud)!!! Her wax figures were a way for the citizens of Paris to get news of what was happening around them... even more so than the newspapers!!! It was a won ...more
Carole P. Roman
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have gone to Madame Tussaud's wax museum quite a few times and will admit, that in a creepy way, it's fascinating. Standing next to famous people, seeing how tall, the nuances of their features is interesting. I especially love to see the historical characters. However now, after reading the book I understand the historical importance of her wax figures and tableaux she created. When there was no television, people needed a way to reference the major players of the day. The wax museum brought ...more
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
Melissa Larson
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 22, 2012 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
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this and feel like I learned so much! A perfect historical fiction read. Lots of great author notes at the end pulling everything together.
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
Aug 26, 2013 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
Dec 18, 2010 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
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
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

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
Dec 22, 2010 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
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
Diane S ☔
Mar 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
An amazing book about the beginning of the French Revolution told thru the vooice of Madame Tussand who has been invited to teach wax sculpting to the Pricess Elizabeth. Imtimate look at the royal family and all the key players, such as Lafayette, Marat and Robespierre. Marvelous job portraying the politics of the time and the struggles of the common man as well as a more sympathetic look at the royal family.
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. ...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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