The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette by Carolyn MeyerThe Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette by Carolyn Meyer

The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette

byCarolyn Meyer

Paperback | June 13, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info

$12.60 online 
$13.99 list price save 9%
Earn 63 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Hardcover edition:$18.00 CL/ $22.50 CAN&nbsp978-0-15-206376-4
Also by Carolyn Meyer: Beware, Princess Elizabeth 978-0-15-204556-2  $6.99 CL / $8.99 CAN Mary, Bloody Mary 978-0-15-216456-0  $6.99 CL / $8.99 CAN
Title:The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-AntoinetteFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 6.87 × 4.19 × 1.08 inPublished:June 13, 2011Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0547482493

ISBN - 13:9780547482491


Rated 2 out of 5 by from Meh ** spoiler alert ** It wasn't terrible. It is for an younger audience so for that I think it was good but I feel like it could have been better. She didn't paint Marie as sympathetic which I know she is because I have read quite a few books in which I quite enjoyed her and I do as a historical figure. But here she just seems stupid and vain and it doesn't do her any favours. She wasn't responsible for the Revolution but here you can see that impact in how she wastes money. And taking the screaming child from his mother because you wanted to raise him? If you wanted to do anything then you can provide sums to him and his family but don't take him away. And then when she suddenly switched to her daughter's point of view? That seemed random and off putting. I wanted to hear about her to the end and I liked her daughter and her POV but it wasn't advertised and it felt unnecessary.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! I enjoy reading anything about Marie Antoinette and this one does not disappoint! as this book caters to the younger age crowd, Marie Antoinette’s voice certainly ‘feels’’ younger. The book does a good job covering most of the main moments of her life leading up to her death. The book paints her somewhat in a sympathetic light, although ignorant and oblivious to what really is happening outside of the palace walls. Her large spending sprees and luxuries are a result of her desperate desire to please others, and to be surrounded by her friends (albeit, they all have another agenda). You can’t help but shake your head at these actions, but on the other hand, she was lonely, with no one to really talk to, and being under the constant scrutiny of others, you do sympathize and try to understand what’s she’s feeling. Her admirers and friends don’t help much in that matter either, as they just grab and take what they can. So although she’s done mistakes and she can disliked for her behavior, you can’t help but pity her as well. The way her story is told is perfect and the writing style is superb. Although it’s a huge thick novel, I found it easy to read, and quick to read through. The setting and descriptions are well done and realistic, so everything is easily pictured. The little rules outlining the beginning of every chapter are cute but it goes to show the lengths to which Marie Antoinette was raised and how she was expected to be at court. It’s rigid and very restrictive, and you can’t blame her for wanting to break rules to suit herself and her comfort - much to the chagrin of others in the French court. This was a great telling of Marie Antoinette tale for younger readers and I greatly recommend this for those wanting to know more about a misunderstood Queen. Those wanting to read a more adult version of this book, I’d recommend Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund. It’s a more detailed account of her life, and also very well done.
Date published: 2012-01-13

Read from the Book

No. 1: Marry well The empress, my mother, studied me as if I were an unusualcreature she'd thought of acquiring for the palacemenagerie. I shivered under her critical gaze. It was like beingbathed in snow. "Still rather small, but I suppose she'll grow. Her sistersdid," my mother said half to herself. She caught myeye. "No bosom yet, Antonia?" I shook my head and stared down at my naked toes,pale as slugs. "No,Mama." Swathed in widow's black, the empress frowned atme as if my flat chest were my own fault. "She's no beauty,certainly," she said, speaking to my governess, CountessBrandeis. "But pretty enough, I think, tomarry the dauphinof France." She signaled me to turn around, which I did,slowly. "My dear countess, something must be done abouther hair!" my mother declared. "The hairline is terrible-just look at it! And her teeth as well. The French foreignminister has already complained that the child's teeth arecrooked. King Louis has made it quite clear that everythingabout my daughter must be perfect before he willagree to her marriage to his grandson." Brandeis inclined her head. "Of course, YourMajesty." "One thing more, Antonia," said my mother sharply."You must learn to speak French-beautifully. And thistoo: from now on you are no longer Antonia. You are Antoine."She dismissed us with a wave and turned her attentionto the pile of official papers on her desk. Antoine? Even my name must change? I gasped andgroped for an answer, but no answer came, just one drysob. The countess rushed me out of the empress's chambersbefore I could burst into tears. That would have beenunacceptable.Mama didn't allow her daughters to cry. I've thought of thismomentmany times. And I thinkof it again, no longer attempting to hold back my tears afterall that has happened to me since then. My mother was known to all the world asMaria Theresa,Holy Roman Empress, archduchess of Austria, queen ofHungary and Bohemia, daughter of the Hapsburg familythat had ruled most of Europe for centuries. Mama believedthe best way to further the goals of her huge empirewas not through conquest but throughmarriage. I'd heardher say it often: Let other nations wage war-fortunate Austriamarries well. She used us, her children, to form alliances. There were quite a lot of us to be married well. Mymother had given birth to sixteen children-I was thefifteenth-and in 1768, the year in which this story begins,ten of us were still living. Three of my four brothershad been paired with suitable brides. The eldest, Joseph,emperor and co-ruler with ourmother since Papa's death,was twenty-seven and had already been married and widowedtwice. Both of his wives had been chosen by ourmother. Joseph still mourned the first, Isabella of Parma,with whom he had been deeply in love, but not the second,a fat and pimply Bavarian princess whom he had detestedfrom the very beginning. I was curious to see ifMama would make him marry well for a third time. Next in line for the throne, Archduke Leopold wasmarried to the daughter of the king of Spain. Then camemy brother Ferdinand, thirteen, a year older than I, betrothedsince he was just nine to an Italian heiress. Nodoubt he would soon marry her. The youngest archduke,chubby little Maximilian-we called him Fat Max-wasnot onMama's list for a wife.He was supposed to becomea priest and someday an archbishop. Of my five older sisters, Maria Anna was crippledand would never have a husband, and dear Maria Elisabethhad retired to a convent after smallpox destroyed herbeauty. (All of us archduchesses had been given the firstname Maria-an old family tradition.) My other sistershad been found husbands of high enough ranks. Maria Christina, calledMimi, was my mother's greatfavorite, and somehow she had been allowed to marry theman she adored, Prince Albert of Saxony. Lucky Mimi,one of the most selfish girls who ever lived! Maria Amalia was madly in love with Prince Charlesof Zweibrücken, but Mama opposed the match-he wasn'trich enough or important enough-and made Amaliapromise to marry the duke of Parma. Amalia didn't likehim at all, and she was furious withMama. "Mimi got to marry the man she loved, even thoughhe has neither wealth nor position," Amalia stormed, "andMama gave her a huge dowry to make up for it. So whycan't I marry Charles?" Silly question! We all knew she had no choice. OnlyMimi could talk Mama into giving her whatever shewanted. Maria Carolina, the sister I loved best, had tomarry King Ferdinand ofNaples. This was the final chapterof a very sad story: two of our older sisters, firstMariaJohanna and then Maria Josepha, had each in turn beenbetrothed to King Ferdinand. First Johanna and thenJosepha had died of smallpox just before a wedding couldtake place. Ferdinand ended up with the next in line,Maria Carolina. He may have been satisfied with thechange, but Carolina hadn't been. "I hear he's an utter dolt!" Carolina had wailed as hertrunks were being packed for the journey toNaples. She'dpaced restlessly from room to room, wringing her prettywhite hands. "And ugly as well. I can only hope he doesn'tstink!" It didn't matter if he stank.We had been brought upto do exactly as we were told, and Mama had a thousandrules. "You are born to obey, and you must learn to do so."(This rule did not apply toMimi, of course.) Though she was three years older than I, we hadgrown up together. We had also gotten into mischief together,breaking too many of Mama's rules (such as talkingafter nightly prayers and not paying attention to ourstudies), and our mother had decided we had to be separated.In April, when the time came for her to leave forNaples, Carolina cried and cried and even jumped out ofher carriage at the last minute to embrace me tearfullyone more time. I missed her terribly. That left me, the youngest daughter, just twelve yearsold. I knew my mother had been searching for the bestpossible husband forme-best for her purposes; my wishesdidn't count. Now she thought she had found him: thedauphin of France. The Austrian Hapsburgs would beunited with the French Bourbons. But she also thought Ididn't quite measure up. After my mother's cold assessment, Brandeis led me, sobbing,through gloomy corridors back to my apartments inthe vastHofburg Palace in Vienna. She murmured soothingwords as she helped me dress-I had appeared in onlya thin shift for Mama's inspection-and announced thatwe would simply enjoy ourselves for the rest of the day. "Plenty of time tomorrow for your lessons, my darlingAntonia," the countess said and kissed me on myforehead. She hadn't yet begun to call me Antoine, and Iwas glad. Her plan was fine with me. Neither Brandeis norI shared much enthusiasm for my lessons. I dislikedreading-I read poorly-and avoided it as much as Icould. Brandeis saw no reason to force me. She agreedthat my handwriting was nearly illegible-I left a trail ofscattered inkblots-and allowed me to avoid practicingthat as well. My previous governess had also given up thestruggle, helpfully tracing out all the letters with a pencilso I had only to follow her tracings with pen and ink.When my mother discovered the trick, the lady was dismissed.Brandeis didn't resort to deception, but neitherdid she do much to correct my messy handwriting. "You'll have scant use for such things," said my governessnow. She shuffled a deck of cards and dealt a handonto the game table. "You dance beautifully-who canforget your delightful performance in the ballet to celebrateyour brother Joseph's wedding? Your needlework isexquisite, and your music tutor says you show a talent forthe harp. What more will you need to know? A memberof the court will read everything to you while you stitchyour designs, and a secretary will write your letters foryou. You won't even have to think about it. You'll haveonly to be charming and enjoy yourself, when you becomethe queen of France." "Queen of France?" I exclaimed, a little surprised. Ihadn't thoughtmuch beyondmarrying the dauphin, whoeverhe was. "AmI truly to be queen of France, Brandeis?" "You will someday, if everything goes according toplan. The young man your mother has chosen for you tomarry is next in line for the throne. The future wife of thedauphin will be the dauphine, and when old King Louisthe Fifteenth dies and his grandson the dauphin becomesking, you, my sweet Antonia, will become his queen." Shesmiled and sighed. "Everyone knows that Versailles is themost elegant court in all of Europe, and you shall be itsshining glory!" Queen! The idea thrilled me. My brothers and sistershad been matched with royalty from several other countriesin Europe, but France was the most important-Iunderstood that much-and that made me important,more important than my snobbish sister Mimi! Beingmarried to the prince of Saxony wasn't much to bragabout, compared to being queen of France. I prancedaround my apartments with my nose in the air, as thoughI already wore the crown. Countess Brandeis swept hernew sovereign a curtsy so deep that her nose almosttouched the floor. I laughed and twirled and clapped myhands. Then I remembered my mother's pronouncement:everything must be perfect. "Oh, dear Brandeis, what about myhair?" I cried. "And my teeth? Mama says they're notpleasing to the French king. And you're supposed to callme Antoine." "I imagine a friseur will be sent to dress your hair,"said Brandeis with a careless shrug, "though it looks fineenough to me-a mass of red-gold curls, what could beprettier? And I've heard that crooked teeth can be fixed aswell as unruly locks.Meanwhile, I suggest you simply putall of this out of mind." She picked up her cards andarranged them. "Now, shall I draw first, or shall you?" I did as my governess suggested and succeeded inwinning a few pfennig from her. The next day we bundledourselves in furs and rode through Vienna in a sleighshaped like a swan and drawn by horses with bells jinglingon their harnesses. We returned to my apartments in theHofburg to sip hot chocolate and forget the unpleasantbusiness of lessons and other worrisome matters. Brandeisalways neglected to call me Antoine. I was still herdear Antonia-until one day when all our pleasant enjoymentcame to an end.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Carolyn Meyer's Young Royals books:High drama . . . irresistible."- Booklist "Riveting."- Publishers Weekly "Masterful."- VOYA "Captivating."- SLJ "