In this deft historical novel, Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) escapes the pages of trivia quizzes to become a real person far more arresting than even her waxwork sculptures. Who among us knew, for instance, that she moved freely through the royal court of Louis XVI, only to become a prisoner of the Reign of Terror? Her head was shaven for guillotining, but she escaped execution, though she was forced to make death masks for prominent victims. Novelist Michelle Moran covers this breathtaking period without losing the thread of its subject's singular story.
I have read so many rave reviews about this book that I was sure I would love it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. It’s not that I hated, or even disliked, this book, I just didn’t think it was fantastic. The story was slow and predictable and the end was kind of anticlimactic. The end left me with tons of unanswered questions that I won’t list here because I don’t want to give anything away. I did really like Marie (Madame Tussaud) as a character; she was strong, ambitious and just not your average 18th century female. She was very inspiring and I really was sympathetic to her situation what with stuck between the revolution and the royals she had befriended. I just wish there had been more! The story tells about her time in France prior to her becoming extremely famous and the struggles she faced during the revolution but I think I would have liked to read more about what happened after the revolution ended. I guess I had built up in my mind how great this book would be and I wound up being a little disappointed. 3 stars.