Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution

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Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution

by Michelle Moran

Crown Publishing Group | December 27, 2011 | Trade Paperback |

4.1429 out of 5 rating. 7 Reviews
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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? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.
 
Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie's museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king's sister is so impressed that she requests Marie's presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse-even if it means time away
from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.
 
As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she's ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
 
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there's whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
 
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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.79 in

Published: December 27, 2011

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307588661

ISBN - 13: 9780307588661

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– More About This Product –

Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution

Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution

by Michelle Moran

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 480 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.79 in

Published: December 27, 2011

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307588661

ISBN - 13: 9780307588661

About the Book

Wax-sculptor Marie has stepped into a lavish world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table. Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war?

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 Paris December 12, 1788 Although it is mid-December and everyone with sense is huddled near a fire, more than two dozen women are pressed together in Rose Bertin’s shop, Le Grand Mogol. They are heating themselves by the handsome bronze lamps, but I do not go inside. These are women of powdered poufs and ermine cloaks, whereas I am a woman of ribbons and wool. So I wait on the street while they shop in the warmth of the queen’s favorite store. I watch from outside as a girl picks out a showy pink hat. It’s too pale for her skin, but her mother nods and Rose Bertin claps her hands eagerly. She will not be so eager when she notices me. I have come here every month for a year with the same request. But this time I am certain Rose will agree, for I am prepared to offer her something that only princes and murderers possess. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.   I stamp my feet on the slick cobblestones of the Rue Saint- Honoré. My breath appears as a white fog in the morning air. This is the harshest winter in memory, and it has come on the heels of a poor summer harvest. Thousands will die in Paris, some of the cold, others of starvation. The king and queen have gifted the city as much firewood as they can spare from Versailles. In thanks, the people have built an obelisk made entirely of snow; it is the only monument they can afford. I look down the street, expecting to see the fish sellers at their carts. But even th
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From the Publisher

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? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.
 
Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie's museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king's sister is so impressed that she requests Marie's presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse-even if it means time away
from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.
 
As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she's ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
 
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there's whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
 
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.


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

MICHELLE MORAN was a public high school teacher for six years and is currently a full-time writer living in California. She is the author of the national bestseller Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra''s Daughter.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

" Certain to be a breakout book for Moran, this superbly written and plotted work is a welcome addition to historical fiction collections . The shocking actions and behavior required of Tussaud to survive the revolution make the novel a true page-turner and a perfect reading group choice."-- Library Journal , starred review " This is a first-class novel, brilliantly written , and Michelle Moran has authentically evoked an era, infusing her narrative with passages of gripping and often horrifying drama, set in one of history''s most brutal periods. The scope of the author''s research is staggering, but you won''t need to get to the notes at the end to realize that. As historical novels go, this is of the first rank--a page-turner that is both vividly and elegantly written. I feel privileged to be able to endorse it."— Alison Weir, author of Eleanor of Aquitane "Moran’s latest is an excellent and entertaining novel steeped in the zeitgeist of the period. Highly recommended."-- Historical Novels Review , Editors'' Choice "This is an unusually moving portrayal of families in distress, both common and noble. Marie Antoinette in particular becomes a surprisingly dimensional figure rather than the fashionplate, spendthrift caricature depicted in the pamphlets of her times. A feat for Francophiles and adventurers alike. "-- Publishers Weekly "Madame Tussaud...is brought to life in this well-crafted, fast-paced novel by the talented Michelle Moran...Michelle Moran has
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Bookclub Guide

1. How do you think Marie's life differed from most other women of her time? Where would you say she placed her emphasis?

2. When Marie visited the Marquis de Sade in the Bastille, she was surprised by the conditions she found there. Were you surprised as well? If so, in what way did those conditions surpass or fall short of your expectations?

3. What was the comparison Marie made between the Bastille and Versailles? How would you describe the organization, operations, scent and reality of daily life in each location?

4. Who was the Duc D'Orleans and what type of role would you say he played regarding the French revolution? What role would you say he played in the common people's belief regarding the king?

5. When the Royal family tried to economize their personal lifestyle and the kingdom's expenses, how did the other nobles respond and why?

6. At one point, Marie told her neighbor, and later fiancé, Henri, she didn't agree with Rousseau's philosophy regarding the goodness of man. In what way would you say Marie's philosophy regarding people differed from Rousseau?

7. How would you describe the Royal family's knowledge of the way the populace felt about them? Why was this so? What role do you think this knowledge, or lack thereof, played as a catalyst for the revolution?

8. How would you describe the king's style of ruling? What factor do you think this played in the people revolting against him? If he'd been a harsher ruler do you think the people would have been more or less likely to revolt and why? By the same token, if he had been a more lenient ruler do you think this would have increased or diminished the likelihood of the revolution?

9. hat do you think was the king's greatest virtue as a ruler? What was his greatest vice? Which characteristic of his do you think played the greatest role in his ultimately losing his throne and his life?

10. What events in Madame Tussaud would you describe as ironic? Can you think of similar things or events that have occurred during your lifetime, whether in this country or elsewhere? If so, how are they similar?

11. Marie's brother, Edmund, accused Marie of making matters worse for the Royal family by portraying them through her wax figures in a misleading or lurid way. Do you agree? How did the Salon De Cire's exhibits mirror or differ from the way the French newspapers described the Royal family?

12. Would you describe Marie as a Royalist or a revolutionary? Why? If she'd had the ability to do so, at the end of her life what specific things do you think she would have gone back and rectified or done differently?

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