July Book: The Secret Diary of a Princess – a Novel of Marie Antionette

We all know the story of Marie Antoinette, at least to some extent, or at the very least her supposed remark, “Let them eat cake!”  (How sad by the way).

Most biographies are pretty straightforward and a lot of the ones from the past are based on a lot of the history of their time.  This one is no different, however, this book doesn’t really delve into the politics or history of the French Revolution or really, the French or Austrians.  This book is about Marie Antoinette herself before she became the French queen that would ultimately define her.  This book is about Maria Antonia, the very young, not-yet teenage archduchess of Austria.

The story begins with her receipt of a diary from her sister, Maria Amalia, where she writes quite sincerely about how she truly feels and thinks of her life in Vienna and the people who surround her.  It takes the reader through her adolescence up to the time she marries the Dauphin of France.  Her innocence, naiveté, charm, and sweetness shine through in her own words as she writes about her life in Vienna.  She writes of the splendor, extravagance, and privilege of living in Vienna, however, she doesn’t seem like the spoiled brat she is portrayed to be in France.  She is surrounded by this rich life because she was born into it but seems to take it almost for granted.  She doesn’t flaunt her wealth, rather, she just describes it.  She also writes of her fear of her mother, the great Empress of Austria to whom she is not close to at all and also of her father, who she adored and the reader really feels his loss when he dies.  The relationships she most writes about, however, are of her sisters, who she loves dearly and feels each separation deeply as they are each married off or die of some disease.  She also has an interesting relationship with her brother, the Emperor.  It’s as if he wants to protect her from her mother, perhaps because she is just so young, or perhaps because by her own admission, she is ignorant in languages, her studies, and of politics in general.

The book is beautifully written because it is written by Maria Antonia’s own words.  She doesn’t hide anything and it is an old-fashioned coming-of-age story.  I really like this book because it draws you in immediately and you walk with her to the end.  It is worth reading:  The Secret Diary of a Princess:  a Novel of Marie Antoinette by Melanie Clegg.

4 Responses to July Book: The Secret Diary of a Princess – a Novel of Marie Antionette

  1. Hi, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

  2. Wow! Thank you! I permanently needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I take a portion of your post to my site?

%d bloggers like this: