Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution by Michelle MoranMadame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution by Michelle Moran

Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French Revolution

byMichelle Moran

Paperback | December 27, 2011

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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.
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.
Title:Madame Tussaud: A Novel Of The French RevolutionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 8 × 5.1 × 0.9 inPublished:December 27, 2011Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307588661

ISBN - 13:9780307588661

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating read Totally different perspective on the French Revolution. Couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bloody Revolution Madame Tussand makes reading about history better than watching a blockbuster movie. Moran must spend a lot of time researching to include so many amazing and true details and descriptions into this narrative. Hard to put down!
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from less than well written Not great literature, just a fictional account of the avarice of the main characters. Interesting time period main draw.
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Love this! Great author!
Date published: 2014-05-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Meh Wasn't as captivating as all her previous books.
Date published: 2013-07-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good Marie Grosholz later became Madame Tussaud of the famous wax museums. She lived in France during the time of the Revolution in the late 1700s. This is a fictional account of that time. Marie was taught by her uncle how to create the wax figures. At their business, the Salon de Cire, they mostly recreated the monarchy and criminals. They followed the news and changed their displays, always keeping up to date with what was happening and what people wanted to see. Marie was requested to tutor the king's sister in making wax figures, but it was around this time that commoners were grumbling about the monarchy and wanted reform, they wanted a revolution, they wanted a constitution. As Marie's family tried not to offend anyone, so as to not get into trouble, they (and Marie, especially) were pulled deeper and deeper into a dangerous and deadly situation. This was really good. The first half was a little slower for me, I think because of all the politics that were discussed. I tended to glaze over a bit. I should mention that I really don't know much (or anything) about this time and place, so it was all new to me. I don't know if I got used to the politics in the story or if there was less discussion of it later, but the second half really picked up for me. There was a lot of exciting (and dangerous) stuff happening in the second half. I admire Marie for being so strong. There hasn't been a book I've read by Moran yet that hasn't been really good. She seems to be really good with the historical details, and of course, she does provide a historical note at the end.
Date published: 2012-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful portrayal of a brutally ugly time This was a very interesting novel that integrates fiction with historically accurate events that occurred during the French Revolution. It is likely that very few people realize the intense life of Madame Tussaud although her name is widely recognized in pop culture because of her tourist attraction wax museums around the world. Moran expertly draws the reader in through an intimate glimpse at Madame Tussaud's personal life and relationships, set against a turbulent time in French history. Wonderfully detailed and fast-paced!
Date published: 2012-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from madame Tussaud Madame Tussaud, by Michelle Moran is a treasure of a book. For anyone interested in the behind the scenes look at the Revolution, this is the book to read! What better insight than sitting right in Marie Grosholtz (Madame Tussaud’s maiden name), uncle’s salon? So much plotting and up-to-the minute news took place here! Can you imagine that the ultimate tyrant Robespierre himself, as well as Marat and the like would get together right in her salon and discuss how to oust the king? Madame Tussaud is the juiciest piece of French Revolution historical I’ve read so far. Leave it to the extremely talented Michelle Moran to create a delicious story by slicing a piece of history and serving it up for us to gobble up. Moran is brilliant (and if you've read Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen and Cleopatra- you just know what I'm talking about!). Nothing is missing in this history-filled page turner. We read about Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, her children, the king’s sister, Elizabeth, Rose Bertin and even Josephine (still known as Rose at the time) is part of this fantastic book! There are so many historical figures that appear- and not just as passer-bys- actual scenes that actually happened are vividly portrayed. And of course Marie’s wax trade is at the forefront of this novel. Not only was Tussaud an expert in her field- a true artist- she also gave up alot for her career and family’s safety. There were times while reading where I could not fathom her courage amidst the cruelty and gruesome conditions...imagine the naturalness and beauty of an artist creating from the living- and then try to imagine Tussaud creating from death and horror (I can’t’ll have to read the book!). And this was never by choice. Poor Marie! I was completely enveloped in this book. Written almost like a memoir, I felt every moment as though I were there. Excellent writing that keeps you enthralled until the very end. If you would love to know more about this exciting and indeed revolutionary period- Get Madame Tussaud, by Michelle Moran- You won’t regret it! Loved it!
Date published: 2012-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Captivating “Madame Tussaud”, by Michelle Moran “A Novel of the French Revolution“ “Madame Tussaud” is set during a difficult and complicated time in French history when the population became more and more dissatisfied with the monarchy. While the subjects were hit with rising taxes and left starving and had little to call their own, the royals were spending foolishly and living high of the hog. The masses became so discouraged with the direction of the country, they reached a point where they did not trust or support anything King Louis XV1 and Queen Marie Antoinette did. This was a very volatile and dangerous time; France was on a downhill spiral and the ensuing events left its mark on history for ever. The story is mainly of Marie Grosholtz, a talented artist who worked at her family wax museum sculpting figures that reflected events of the time: Paris late 1780’s. This was a very trying time for their profession and their Salon de Cire, in order to make a living and protect the family they had to walk a very fine line between two distinctive groups with opposing agendas. One group was the royalty with an endless supply of money and the other was represented by Robespierre and Marat, the two notorious revolutionary instigators whose propaganda speeches eventually bring the population to rise against the monarchy. It didn’t take long for the situation to get out of hands. The ruling class retaliated by implementing the guillotine and went from town to town massacring all those in their way but eventually the people with their numbers overran the Bastille…. During this period, Marie was mandated to prepare the death masks of prominent people who were recently beheaded but soon became unable to do this gruesome task, there was no apparent end in sight. When she refused she was immediately sent to the gallows to wait for her turn at the guillotine….Fortunately that day never came and while in prison she meet and married Mr. Tussaud. It was a domed marriage, not many years after their release they each went their separate ways. The novel begins as a sedate look at the wax museum and the events that brought the French monarchy to its knees, the details of the time and the part Marie Groshotlz played became so captivating I had trouble putting the book down. The devastation caused by the Revolution and number of beheadings and killings in search of social fairness was overwhelming. This is a fantastic historical fiction that takes us back in time and provides a fabulous perspective of a woman whose name and artistic endeavours are well-known even to this day. The author provides a brief description on what is fact and what is fiction at the end of the book. Ms. Moran is highly skilled at making history interesting.
Date published: 2012-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Great Read This book was well written and the author really illustrated the events well. It was easy to put yourself in Marie Grosholtz shoes. All the wonderful and horrible things that happened during such a historical era. The French Revolution has never been told in such a way. You could see what she saw and smell what she smelled. Well written as always, I have enjoyed other books by this author.
Date published: 2012-02-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent novel about the French Revolution Marie Grosholtz is a talented wax sculptor who works alongside her uncle in their wax museum "Le Salon de Cire" where their wax figures of the royal family, Thomas Jefferson, Rousseau and more bring in Parisians and provides them with the latest news, fashion and gossip during a time of political unrest. See my full review at:
Date published: 2012-02-13

Read from the Book

Chapter 1ParisDecember 12, 1788Although 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 the merchants have fled the cold, leaving nothing but the stink of the sea behind them. When the last customer exits Le Grand Mogol, I hurry inside. I shake the rain from my cloak and inhale the warm scent of cinnamon from the fi re. As always, I am in awe of what Rose Bertin has accomplished in such a small space. Wide, gilded mirrors give the impression that the shop is larger than it really is, and the candles flickering from the chandeliers cast a burnished glow across the oil paintings and embroidered settees. It’s like entering a comtesse’s salon, and this is the effect we have tried for in my uncle’s museum. Intimate rooms where the nobility will not feel out of place. Although I could never afford the bonnets on these shelves— let alone the silk dresses of robin’s-egg blue or apple green— I come here to see the new styles so that I can copy them later. After all, that is our exhibition’s greatest attraction. Women who are too poor to travel to Versailles can see the royal family in wax, each of them wearing the latest fashions. “Madame?” I venture, closing the door behind me. Rose Bertin turns, and her high- pitched welcome tells me that she expects another woman in ermine. When I emerge from the shadows in wool, her voice drops. “Mademoiselle Grosholtz,” she says, disappointed. “I gave you my answer last month.” She crosses her arms over her chest. Everything about Rose Bertin is large. Her hips, her hair, the satin bows that cascade down the sides of her dress.“Then perhaps you’ve changed your mind,” I say quickly. “I know you have the ear of the queen. They say that there’s no one else she trusts more.” “And you’re not the only one begging favors of me,” she snaps. “But we’re good patrons.” “Your uncle bought two dresses from me.” “We would buy more if business was better.” This isn’t a lie. In eighteen days I will be twenty-eight, but there is nothing of value I own in this world except the wax figures that I’ve created for my uncle’s exhibition. I am an inexpensive niece to maintain. I don’t ask for any of the embellishments in Le Journal des Dames, or for pricey chemise gowns trimmed in pearls. But if I had the livres, I would spend them in dressing the figures of our museum. There is no need for me to wear gemstones and lace, but our patrons come to the Salon de Cire to see the finery of kings. If I could, I would gather up every silk fan and furbelow in Rose Bertin’s shop, and our Salon would rival her own. But we don’t have that kind of money. We are showmen, only a little better-off than the circus performers who exhibit next door. “Think of it,” I say eagerly. “I could arrange a special tableau for her visit. An image of the queen sitting in her dressing room. With you by her side. The Queen and Her Minister of Fashion,” I tell her. Rose’s lips twitch upward. Although Minister of Fashion is an insult the papers use to criticize her influence over Marie Antoinette, it’s not far from the truth, and she knows this. She hesitates. It is one thing to have your name in the papers, but to be immortalized in wax . . . That is something reserved only for royals and criminals, and she is neither.  “So what would you have me say?” she asks slowly. My heart beats quickly. Even if the queen dislikes what I’ve done— and she won’t, I know she won’t, not when I’ve taken such pains to get the blue of her eyes just right— the fact that she has personally come to see her wax model will change everything. Our exhibition will be included in the finest guidebooks to Paris. We’ll earn a place in every Catalog of Amusements printed in France. But most important, we’ll be associated with Marie Antoinette. Even after all of the scandals that have attached themselves to her name, there is only good business to be had by entertaining Their Majesties.  “Just tell her that you’ve been to the Salon de Cire. You have, haven’t you?” “Of course.” Rose Bertin is not a woman to miss anything. Even a wax show on the Boulevard du Temple. “It was attractive.” She adds belatedly, “In its way.” “So tell that to the queen. Tell her I’ve modeled the busts of Voltaire, Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin. Tell her there will be several of her. And you.” Rose is silent. Then finally, she says, “I’ll see what I can do.”From the Hardcover edition.

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?

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 brought to life in this well-crafted, fast-paced novel by the talented Michelle Moran...Michelle Moran has done what few novelists have been successfully able to accomplish, and that is to depict the full range of the swift political changes that occurred in the few years from the fall of the Bastille to the beheading of the king. Madame Tussaud promises to be a breakout book for this talented writer—a novel that is both a gripping fictionalized biography of an intriguing woman and a well-paced, illuminating chronicle of the French Revolution."--New York Journal of Books  "Well-plotted...Mannered and elegant; reminiscent in many ways of novels of days long past."--KirkusFrom the Hardcover edition.