Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter

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9781596910577: Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter
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The first major biography of one of France's most mysterious women―Marie Antoinette's only child to survive the revolution.

Susan Nagel, author of the critically acclaimed biography Mistress of the Elgin Marbles, turns her attention to the life of a remarkable woman who both defined and shaped an era, the tumultuous last days of the crumbling ancien régime. Nagel brings the formidable Marie-Thérèse to life, along with the age of revolution and the waning days of the aristocracy, in a page-turning biography that will appeal to fans of Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette and Amanda Foreman's Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire.

In December 1795, at midnight on her seventeenth birthday, Marie-Thérèse, the only surviving child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, escaped from Paris's notorious Temple Prison. To this day many believe that the real Marie-Thérèse, traumatized following her family's brutal execution during the Reign of Terror, switched identities with an illegitimate half sister who was often mistaken for her twin. Was the real Marie-Thérèse spirited away to a remote castle to live her life as the woman called "the Dark Countess," while an imposter played her role on the political stage of Europe? Now, two hundred years later, using handwriting samples, DNA testing, and an undiscovered cache of Bourbon family letters, Nagel finally solves this mystery. She tells the remarkable story in full and draws a vivid portrait of an astonishing woman who both defined and shaped an era. Marie-Thérèse's deliberate choice of husbands determined the map of nineteenth-century Europe. Even Napoleon was in awe and called her "the only man in the family." Nagel's gripping narrative captures the events of her fascinating life from her very public birth in front of the rowdy crowds and her precocious childhood to her hideous time in prison and her later reincarnation in the public eye as a saint, and, above all, her fierce loyalty to France throughout.

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About the Author:

Susan Nagel is the bestselling author of Mistress of the Elgin Marbles and a critically acclaimed book on the novels of Jean Giraudoux. She has written for the stage, screen, scholarly journals, and Town and Country. She is a professor in the humanities department at Marymount Manhattan College and lives in New York City.

From AudioFile:

Rosalyn Landor is a sympathetic narrator who mirrors Nagel's admiration of Marie Therese, daughter of Marie Antoinette. The book recounts the initial journey of Marie Antoinette to the French court and explores the political underpinnings and ramifications of the French Revolution, including the deaths of the king and queen and the imprisonment of their daughter and her younger brother, the dauphin. The story follows Marie Therese to her death in exile many years later. Landor's firm, well-paced narration is delivered in a serious tone. She projects a trace of indignation at the descriptions of the abominable treatment of Marie Therese and her brother in prison. The French language quotations, as well as people and place names, are dealt with smoothly and fluently. J.E.M. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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