Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: "Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow" by Juliet Grey


From Goodreads:  Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attach√© Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.

My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow is the second book in Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette trilogy.  I read the first book in the fall and didn't love it and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to read this one.  I eventually was sucked in by the cover (isn't it pretty?) and decided to give it a shot.  After reading the prologue, I was really excited for this book.  The prologue is so well-written that it felt like I was there watching events unfold in the marketplace in Paris.  It was amazing!  Unfortunately, the rest of the book fell flat.  The story felt very slow at times and at other times hard to follow.  Towards the middle of the book, the story splits in two and you finally understand what role the prologue plays in the story.  When the story split, it felt very disjointed and I felt I would be reading along and it would stop abruptly and start on the other story.  There were several times where I thought I had missed a page when in fact, the stories had switched. 

I also felt bad reading this because normally I am very sympathetic towards Marie Antoinette but I find myself really not liking her in this book.  She was spoiled and whiny and I just got really tired of her.  There was a moment where I thought, 'Wow, if she was really like this, it's no wonder everyone disliked her.' I was also surprised that Ms. Grey's story included an affair between Marie Antoinette and Axel von Fersen.  I don't know if I have ever read a work of historical fiction that did this so I had a 'whoa!' moment.  In all fairness, I have to say that Ms. Grey is a wonderfully descriptive writer as her descriptions of Marie Antoinette's clothes, hair and surroundings were magnificent.  It's also very obvious that she did a TON of research for this book which I always appreciate.  Even though I didn't love the first two books in this trilogy, I probably will read the third book just because I am curious as to how she will end the story (not that I don't already know how it will end).  3 stars.  

2 comments:

  1. So glad I read your review, I was thinking about reading this one. I read the first book and thought it was ok, I think I will pass on this one.

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  2. I absolutely loved this book! And the first in the trilogy. I'm glad to hear you're still going to give the third book a try :)

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