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Monday, February 14, 2011

Madame Tussaud

Madame Tussaud is my first delve into the historical fiction genre. I actually got this book for free as a giveaway on goodreads. If you don't already putter around goodreads.com you should join me there because I'd love to see what you're reading. Goodreads is everything you wish reading was when you were a lonely high school kid with nothing better to do on a Friday night than read some Stephen King or Piers Anthony and wish you had a job and a car. It turns reading into a social experience which is exactly what reading was always missing. Instead of having to read a bunch of signs at the local library looking for a cool book club or skulking around a downtown coffee shop with a book you think is cool you can actually immediately meet up with people that like the same books as you do.

Madame Tussaud officially is released today so I can officially comment on it. Just as I wrote before, I've never read any historical fiction. I've read fictional history, history, economic history and some alternate history book that was about some South African skinheads who go back in time to the civil war and give the south machine guns to try to extend apartheid. I seem to remember the alternate history book promising some kind of sequel where everything is set right but I never bothered to look for it. I'll have to add it to my goodreads shelf one of these days and see what other people thought of it.

So Madame Tussaud was a women who lived through revolutionary France.  I knew she would live because the book is written in a first person viewpoint, that's usually a dead giveaway that the main character survives. After reading the modern European history book and the French economic history books over the last couple of years it was refreshing to get a lighter take on the events of the revolution and its aftermath. By lighter I mean lighter in tone and less didactic. It was nice to read something about the time period that doesn't have or need a footnote on every page.

The story is grand. Marie the main character works with her uncle in a wax museum and has to straddle the worlds of royalty and patriots. Because of her work modeling the famous people of France she knows members of the royal family as well as important revolutionaries. The story is a good tru-ish narrative about the events of the revolution and tells the story of how this upper middle class family did their best to survive the starvation, the violence and tried to stay away from the guillotine.

Madame Tussaud does survive and lived to be an old woman of 90 something which is an accomplishment even today. In addition to her eponymous wax museums all over the world she left behind memoirs of her life and one of the first ever prenuptial agreements. Michelle Moran did a fantastic job of writing a story that kept me reading, I was actually up until a quarter to three last night finishing up the epilogue. The book is designed to be a girlie book and had a light touch of romance but it wasn't a major feature of the book and was just a bit of back story so it never got to an intolerable, roll of my eyes level as I feared it would.

The plot was plausible, the characters were likable and the ending was satisfying. I can truly say that I enjoyed it much more than a lot of the high literature I've been trying to read lately, I actually wanted to keep turning the pages instead of having to force myself to.  I've developed a habit of rifling the pages that I haven't read and wondering how many hours away I am from just being done with the book. I didn't do that much with this one, I was very entranced.

So thank you Crown books for the opportunity to check this out. I completely enjoyed it and would certainly love to read Ms. Moran's other books.

1 comment:

Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.