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 Amazon.com from Hardcover edition
Now I would never have picked this book up but it was on my summer reading list, and I am so glad that I chose it. I loved it.
I was having some doubts in the beginning of the book as the opening was slow, but then it started to get more and more interesting. It was quite a large book with small print, so it took a lot longer to read then most books. This was one of those books that after you had only read for a little while you felt like you had read the entire book but you really had only read like 10 or 15 pages. But you cannot put it down, you always wanted to know what happened next and not because there was suspense but because of the story line.
You really grew attached to the characters and there were quite a few emotional moments which made you feel really depressed. I also like the atmosphere which the author created in this book. You really felt that you were in the time period that this book was set and what life was like for these people. I was fortunate to get a copy which had all of the characters listed in the beginning of the book (I do not know if all the copies have that) and it really was useful as there are quite a few characters and after a while it gets confusing as to who is who. I still made an old-fashioned family tree though and I found it helpful.
This is a book for older readers for quite a few reasons. There was some sexual talk but not too much that is terrible. But during this book there were a lot of deaths and some of the things which happened were kind of sickening because it happened to some of the characters which you grew attached to.😦 Also Marie had to make wax faces of dead people by using the decapitated head quite a few times and it went into quite a lot of detail as to what happened and it was not just what she saw, but what she smelt.
This book seemed to be an extremely historically accurate novel and I absolutely loved it. It is a must read but I recommend this book for 15 year olds and over because of the violence and there was a lot of political talk during this book which got a little confusing. But a must read so please go and check this one out.