Wednesday 16 February 2011

Review: Madame Tussaud - Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 464
Published: February 15th 2011 Crown Publishing

In this deft historical novel, Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) escapes the pages of trivia quizzes to become a real person far more arresting than even her waxwork sculptures. Who among us knew, for instance, that she moved freely through the royal court of Louis XVI, only to become a prisoner of the Reign of Terror? Her head was shaven for guillotining, but she escaped execution, though she was forced to make death masks for prominent victims.

My thoughts: 
Michelle Moran does not disappoint, because once more she brings history to life in an amazing novel.

Where to start, so much is going on here. Marie Grosholtz works with her Uncle making wax sculptures and she is good at it. The year is 1788 and Paris is growing restless. In her uncles Salon men like Robespierre, The Duc d' Orleans and other revolutionaries meet and discuss the state, and the need for a new government. Revolution is in the air and is just gets worse and worse, until the Reign of Terror. But Marie is always on that line in between. She is a tutor to Princess Elizabeth, the king's sister, and at the same time she knows the leaders of the revolution. Her family is good at staying alive. She even makes masks of people she dislike, just to stay alive. She lives through those horrible years and when it end the book ends. So for the most of this book she is not Madame Tussaud at all, but she is working towards that fame she has now.

The book is amazing. The horror is so real, and I can say that France during that time is not a place I would have wanted to visit. At one time an angry mob goes crazy killing prisoners, women, and children, 14000 people dead just like that. And at this time the guillotine has not even started taking its victims, that comes later. In the afterwords Moran also explains that up to 80% that died by the guillotine were in fact commoners, and not nobles at all. Everyone got accused, innocent commoner s and nobles alike.

I am there with Marie when she tries to find fame and fortune, when she grows closer with her neighbour and when she watches the Terror at hand. The book does make it easier to understand that time, all the changes, but also about the King and Queen. They were so clueless because no one told them anything, and they could not do anything either because it would either make the people or the nobility angry. Moran works her magic well there with this horrible and confusing time.

A great book about a woman we all have heard about, but who most know nothing about.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
A big yes to all who like historical fiction, or those who just want to read a great book. Moran becomes with this one my favourite historical writer, I have read 3 wonderful novels by her. And with each she captures her audience better and better. I can't wait to see what she does next, because I will read it.

A 4,5 to this book. Everything is flawless, the writing, the story, the building.

Reason for reading:
Like I said, she is the best.



  1. I am desperate to read this book especially after hearing such good things about it.

  2. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one so much. I can't wait to start reading it. I've loved all of Moran's novels, and I'm sure this one won't disappoint.

  3. Now this is a book I will definitely read as soon as I find it. Great era, an interesting heroine and all that jazz - really something out of ordinary. Thanks for your review!

  4. I love Michelle Moran. I can't wait to read this one!

  5. I love Historical fiction, will definitely add to my tbr pile.

  6. Woohoo! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I so want to read this book and am happy to hear it is so good!

  7. I don't think I've ever seen a bad thing about Moran's writing. I really do want to try one of her books. This one sounds marvelous!

  8. I really want to read this!

  9. I've been so curious about this book. I've seen it around, but haven't read any reviews before yours. So glad you reviewed it. I'm really going to have to pick up one of Moran's books!

  10. @Vivienne
    It is great, do read it. She is such a wonderful writer.

    They have all been wonderful, I truly must read The heretic Queen too. I am sure you will love this one too

    Yes read it :) I love all her books, and I am sure you would like them too. And the era was great, in all its horror

  11. @Almyb
    I hope you like it, she is the best!

    You will not regret it. She is a wonderful writer

    So good, I mean I was there. She is an amazing writer. How does she do it?

    So true, everyone seem to love her books, and no wonder why, because she is very good at what she does

  12. @Amused
    Read it! :D

    She has three eras to choose from so it is just to pick and choose. They have all been good

    Thanks! :D

  13. I think I'm going to have to read this. Everyone seems to love it.

  14. Your review sealed it to me, I have been eyeing this book for awhile now.

  15. I haven't read a historical fiction in a long time but this does sound like a fascinating book. If I see it at the bookstore I think I will probably pick it up.

  16. I can't wait to dig into this one! I'm reading Nefertiti now and loving it.

  17. I'll admit I zipped to the end to see if you liked it. I'm starting it today. I've heard nothing but good things about it. Glad to see you liked it.

  18. Awesome review, blodeuedd! i have this one and I can't wait to read it!! her books are amazing, you're right!

  19. I can't wait to get my hands on this one! I almost bought it at Target today in fact.

  20. I'v read Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran and liked what she did with the story so I already have Madame Tussaud on my wishlist.

  21. This is def. a must read for me. I only read one book written by Michelle Moran, but I really loved it. And this book sounds amazing, and I do love historical fiction!!!

  22. Carol
    She is just that good, very talented at creating that feeling that you are there

    I am glad it did, and I hope you will enjoy it

    I always liked his fic, kind of like fantasy...ok not, but still you get the idea, lol

  23. Jo-Jo
    I read that one this summer, so happy to find it at the library...I mean my friend's library, and then I read all night since I was visiting her ;)

    I tend to do that too when i am sure I am gonna read a book, or start one soon. No spoilers for me then.


    I hope she will write many more about fascinating women. There are certainly plenty out there

  24. @Jennie
    I saw that you had read one book about the French R you really need another one too ;)

    I am glad to hear that, and if you liked C's D, then I am pretty sure you will enjoy this one too

    Me too :D I always have, and I always will love it. So go ahead and read

  25. I'm not really interested in this era but since this is Moran I have to read it! Loved her other books.

  26. I own one of her books and need to get to that one, but I certainly want to read this one. I think it's fascinating!!

  27. Elysium
    I thought like that at first too when I head about the book, but since she is a wonderful writer the book had to be read :)

    I hope you read it soon, I promise you, so good!

  28. this one is really appealing to me!

  29. People seem to have nothing but good things to say about Moran! I hope I get to find one of her books soon and read it!

  30. Oh wow, I wouldn't have otherwise given this book a second look but your awesome review has me totally intrigued. Thanks and I'm glad you really enjoyed this one.

  31. VV
    She is so good, her books have to be read :D

    She might just be that good :) Cos she has this ease with history, it's near, and one can relate

    I am glad it did. Because this is just historical fiction at its best

  32. Moran is such an awesome author. I loved Nefertiti and I can't wait to read this one.

  33. This is that review you were talking about wasn't it? The one that you just wanted to say "Go get it and read! End of review." LOL. If not I'd be damn surprised! I'll have to make sure this one is on my list of books to read! :-)

  34. ladytink
    I know, she is a master :) And Nefertiti was a great book. So yes go ahead and read this one, you will enjoy it

  35. Deanna
    Lol, no that was the Iron Duke, but yes this one could have been like that too. Cos the writing is just marvellous

  36. I really have to read this one! I've heard only good things :)

  37. I read her Nefertti book and LOVEd it! Her writing makes the real world melt away. Thanks for the great review :)

  38. I haven't started my galley yet. *sigh* I'm a bit backed up. But I'm super excited to get started. I admit I have never heard of Madame Tussaud before this book. I'm looking forward to learning about her through Michelle's eyes =)

  39. Jenny
    That is exactly how I feel too! :D She is truly an amazing author

    The only thing I knew that she started M Tussauds...yup that was it.
    I hope you enjoy it



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