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Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
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Madame Tussaud

by Michelle Moran

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6096716,018 (4.08)41
  1. 01
    Désirée by Annemarie Selinko (riofriotex)
    riofriotex: A fictional biography of the woman who was engaged to Napoleon (before Josephine) and later became Queen of Sweden, written in a similar style (chapters headed by dates) as Moran's book. It continues on with the history of France after Moran's book ends.… (more)
  2. 01
    The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C. W. Gortner (bsiemens)
    bsiemens: This historical novel is about a strong, French woman during a period of civil unrest.
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Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
As a lover of historical fiction, Madame Tussaud did not disappoint. The characters were engaging and interesting, and even though history has well-documented what happened in France at the time, the suspense was very well managed. I absolutely adored it, and am getting Moran's other books!

I received this book for free through the Goodreads First Reads program. ( )
  PaperCrystals | Aug 19, 2014 |
SO. SUPER. INTERESTING. I had no idea that Mme. Tussaud was a real, historical figure, much less a major player in the French Revolution. This book was fascinating and exceptionally well-written. I recommend it highly. ( )
  fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
I loved this book in a way that completely surprised me.

To be fair, I always like historical fiction more than I remember that I do. But I think this is the first bit of historical fiction I have read about the Frence Revolution since I read Les Mis[b:Les Misérables|24280|Les Misérables|Victor Hugo|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275624691s/24280.jpg|3208463] in high school.

The story is the story of the French Revolution told from the point of view of Madame Tussaud, of wax museum fame. I actually enjoyed it so much that I've made a list of books to look for at the library about her and about the Revolution becuase what I found on the internet aobut madame Tassuad was disappointedly focused on the modern day museums, and not the woman. I may suffer through a few biographies to learn more about her.

But what I found interesting about this book is that as an American, we know a lot about our own revolution. And I took a few years of French in high school so I knew that Bastille Day (June 14th) was The French Fourth of July (or the Mexican Cinqo de Mayo!), but I didnt' appreciate what it meant to stage a revolution against a king that was right there, and not an ocean away.

And even having read Les Mis, you got the feeling about the poor and why they needed this, but this was an interesting perspective from what was essentially the middle class, and a great look at how power, not necessarily title, money or birth right, is what really corrupts.

I found it to be an amazing read. Easy, entertaining, informative, and thought provoking. ( )
  lmm161 | Mar 30, 2014 |
I just finished this and I have to say that I loved this book. It's been a long time since I read anything set in the French Revolution so I had to keep refreshing myself on the major players. And because I hadn't visited this era in a while the sheer violence and anarchy of the Terror were more shocking to me. Although Marie may not be the easiest character to love her determination and sheer force of will (particularly for a woman of that time) gave me great affection for her.

For me, the one area of weakness in this book was the "romantic" relationships. I could feel how devoted Marie was to her family and the affection she felt for Yachin but her feelings for Henri and Tussaud are less clear. She says she loves Henri and she certainly seems to like him and depends on him. But I still have no idea why she didn't marry him. Or why she did marry Tussaud. I guess I could see it as a celebration of freedom, grab life for all it's worth thing after what she had been through but I don't feel like the author really explored much of that.

Still that's a small quibble for me in what was otherwise a book I enjoyed very much. I'm not sure how I missed Michelle Moran before but I'll definitely be looking for her other titles now. ( )
  CCleveland | Nov 27, 2013 |
Isn't it nice when an author surprises you in a good way? I had tried to read Michelle Moran's previous book, [b:Cleopatra's Daughter|6340471|Cleopatra's Daughter|Michelle Moran|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eO0rqTIiL._SL75_.jpg|5973842] a few years previously, back when every other female seemed to have it in hand and was reading it in the grandstands before basketball practice or dance class--it was either that or [b:The Help|4667024|The Help|Kathryn Stockett|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1312519558s/4667024.jpg|4717423]. I had found it pretty much unreadable--amateurishly written and very vapid (even it it was through the viewpoint of a teenager.) But one day last summer it was unbearably hot and I was trapped in the house as effectively as if it were a blizzard--and I had a project to finish. So I thought I would give Michelle Moran another chance and downloaded "Madame Tussaud."
It was good. No, it was great. The author takes her time with her descriptions of the personalities of The Terror, many of them frequent visitors to the informal salons that the uncle of Anna Maria Grosholtz (the future Madame Tussaud) held, the intricacies of creating the wax figure tableaux, and the occasional difficulties her Swiss-born "uncle" and mother had in finding their way in a foreign land. When Marie becomes a tutor to Madame Elisabeth, King Louis's sister, her horizons expand to include the court at Versailles. Moran's portrait of Madame Royale, the daughter of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis, is particularly arresting--she's a snotty little piece whom you can't help but feel sorry for, both for her isolation at Court, and for her tragic future that she will endure. Moran clearly leans heavily on [b:Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution|527523|Citizens A Chronicle of the French Revolution|Simon Schama|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1320496191s/527523.jpg|1104676] and [b:Paris In The Terror, June 1793 - July 1794|2515908|Paris In The Terror, June 1793 - July 1794|Stanley Loomis|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1266771483s/2515908.jpg|2523302], but these are good sources to rely upon Marie's romance with her neighbor, Henri-Charles, is also handled very realistically and add depths to the book. All of this doesn't slow down the story, but increases the slow-burning tension of the horror that is about to begin.
The second half of the book is riveting. I would say it was unput-downable, but I was listening to it, and though I knew the story well, I was transfixed--unable to sew, unable to do anything save click to the next section of the book. Marie and her family are pretty much compelled by the leaders of the revolution to remake their tableaux to reflect the fast-moving events--including making casts of victims of the mob's frenzy--including the poor Princess Lamballe, whose still-warm head was literally dumped in Marie's lap by the princess's murderers who then ordered her to make Lamballe part of a new tableau. Marie spends many nights sifting through the decapitated bodies to find the heads of the illustrious. It was only at this point that I had some problems with the book. The author takes Madame Tussaud's word for it (written in her diary many years after the fact) that she only behaved as she did as she was in fear for her life. How much of it was opportunistic showmanship, instead? The great lady she became, of course, would never had admitted to these motives, and we just don't know. Moran prefers not to address this uncormfortable idea, and, perhaps rather squeamishly, prefers to portray her heroine as entirely innocent.

In the end Marie is no longer able to outrun events, and she is imprisoned; it is there that she meets the man who will become her husband. This part of the book felt a bit rushed for me; perhaps the author was as exhausted as I was in dealing with the bloodshed and double-dealings as I was. Still, it was a vey rewarding read. The cold Robespierre polishing his green-tinted glasses--the flamboyant and blousy Danton---the brittle foreign queen--they're all there--with the cool and always cautious Mademoiselle Grosholtz carefully navigating her was amongst them. 4.5 stars. ( )
  gaeta1 | Nov 9, 2013 |
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Epigraph
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For my editors Heather Lazare, Matthew Carter, and Allison McCabe. A tout seigneur tout honneur
First words
When she walks through the door of my exhibition, everything disappears: the sound of the rain against the windows, the wax models, the customers, even the children.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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? Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, "Madame Tussaud" brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.… (more)

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