Marie Antoinette

  • by Antonia Fraser
  • Narrated by Eleanor Bron
  • 20 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.
In this biography Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, Louis XVI, the accusations and sexual slurs made against her, her patronage of the arts which enhanced French cultural life, her imprisonment, the death threats made against her, rumours of lesbian affairs, her trial (during which her young son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and her eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Spectacular.

What made the experience of listening to Marie Antoinette the most enjoyable?

Eleanor Bron brought to life Antonia Fraser's writing. Beautifully and sympathetically written casting a very different light on Marie-Antoinette's life.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Marie-Antoinette.

She was so very sweet, yet remarkably modern.


Which character – as performed by Eleanor Bron – was your favourite?

Marie-Antoinette, but it's hard to fault any of Ms. Bron's characterisations.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found the story incredibly moving and enlightening.


Any additional comments?

I learned so much information from having listened to this that my entire opinion of the reign of their Majesties has been altered. An incredible book, exquisitely researched and lovingly written and narrated. 10/10

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- Binky Bowles-Balls

History well researched & told; voice falls short

What made the experience of listening to Marie Antoinette the most enjoyable?

Fraser has done her homework, giving a full, humane and insightful account of her subject's upbringing and character. Her contextual information (politics, family power-plays, protocol, international relationships, etc) ensures the reader is aware of the wider world surrounding the individual woman, whom she has brought vividly to life.


What did you like best about this story?

As well as being sound in her research, Fraser writes well, and she is especially deft and assured in describing (with occasional, appropriately-pitched speculation) the wide-ranging and increasingly severe political pressures gathering around her young subject.


What about Eleanor Bron’s performance did you like?

Bron's enunciation is excellent, and her distinctive voice should be perfect for the book. She is known to be a fine actor, but in this performance she disappoints: at times she seems to be keeping an eye on the clock, for she maintains a pace that does not allow timely pauses at sensitive moments. To this somewhat relentless 'drive' she adds at many times a rather strident pitch. The overall effect is recitation rather than narration, and it intrudes into the story. Disappointing.


Any additional comments?

Still worth buying and listening to, for the story is solid and well told, and Bron's telling of it is certainly good enough; just wish it were better.

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- Goody

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-06-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios