Thursday, May 10, 2012

TLC Book Tours: The Queen's Lover by Francine du Plessix Gray

Title: The Queen's Lover
Author:  Francine du Plessix Gray
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin
Publish Date: June 14, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tours

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like memoir type fiction.
What's the Story?:

From "  The Queen’s Lover begins at a masquerade ball in Paris in 1774, when the dashing Swedish nobleman Count Axel Von Fersen first meets the mesmerizing nineteen-year old Dauphine Marie Antoinette, wife of the shy, reclusive prince who will soon become Louis XVI. This electric encounter launches a life-long romance that will span the course of the French Revolution.            

The affair begins in friendship, however, and Fersen quickly becomes a devoted companion to the entire royal family. As he roams through the halls of Versailles and visits the private haven of Petit Trianon, Fersen discovers the deepest secrets of the court, even learning about the startling erotic details of Marie-Antoinette’s marriage to Louis XVI. But the events of the American Revolution tear Fersen away. Moved by the colonists’ fight for freedom, he is one of the very first to enlist in the French contingent of troops that will fight for America’s independence.

When he returns, he finds France on the brink of disintegration. After the Revolution of 1789 the royal family is moved from Versailles to the Tuileries. Fersen devises an escape for the family and their young children--Marie-Thérèse and the Dauphin Louis-Charles--whom many suspect to be Fersen’s son. The failed evasion attempt eventually leads to a grueling imprisonment, and the family spends its excruciating final days in captivity before the King and Queen face the guillotine.
Grieving his lost love after he returns to his native Stockholm, Fersen begins to sense the effects of the French Revolution in his own homeland. Royalists are now targets of the people’s ire, and the carefree, sensuous world of his youth is fast vanishing. Fersen, who has been named Grand Marshal of Sweden, is incapable of realizing that centuries of tradition have disappeared, and he pays dearly for his naïveté, losing his life at the hands of a savage mob that views him as a pivotal member of the aristocracy.

Scion of Sweden’s most esteemed nobility, Fersen came to be seen as an enemy of the homeland he loved. His fate is symbolic of the violent speed with which the events of the 18th century transformed European culture. Expertly researched and deeply imagined, The Queen’s Lover offers a fresh vision of of the French Revolution and of the French royal family, as told through the love story that was at its center."

My Two Cents:

This book is a fictional tale of Count Axel Von Fersen of Sweden's memoirs. He was the lover of Marie Antoinette. The book also includes chapters from the point of view of his sister, Sophie. I really liked the telling of this story from the point of view of a memoir. You get a more intimate look at what Von Fersen was feeling and doing throughout the book. It was interesting to get inside his head.

Count Axel Von Fersen meets a young Marie Antoinette and falls for her. This book doesn't cover a whole lot of their relationship, which I was a little disappointed in especially since the book is called The Queen's Lover. Marie Antoinette does make appearances but the book covers more of Von Fersen's life and what he was doing, which was actually pretty interesting.

One thing that I really liked about this book is that it gave context into what was going on in the world. I feel like a lot of times, historical fiction focuses on one area or event and you, as the reader, lose focus on what else was happening in that time period. There was a ton of things going on in Von Fersen's time. He goes and fights in the American Revolution. He talks about what was happening in his own country of Sweden (some place you don't see much of in historical fiction about the 1700s). He talks about one of my faves, Catherine the Great, and how she was expanding the Russian empire. Then, of course, there was the French Revolution. I know that I myself tend to forget that all of these major events were happening around the same time or at least not too far apart from each other. It was so interesting to have that context.

Anyhow, the book is enjoyable but don't expect to hear too much about Fersen's affair with his Toinette. The title is sort of a misnomer.

Bottom line: Solid historical fiction with a global outlook!

Don't Forget to Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, April 16th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, April 16th: Twisting the Lens
Wednesday, April 18th: Life in Review
Monday, April 23rd: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, April 25th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, April 26th: Broken Teepee
Friday, April 27th: Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, May 1st: Amused By Books
Wednesday, May 2nd: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Thursday, May 3rd: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, May 9th: Historical Tapestry
Thursday, May 10th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, May 14th: Scandalous Women
Wednesday, May 16th: Enchanted by Josephine


  1. I really like books that are written as memoirs so I will probable enjoy this one. I also like that it covers a lot of different history. Thanks for the great review!

    1. I really like books written as memoirs as well; you definitely get a little more about the inside scoop.

  2. I love it when a book like this gives me a glimpse into the wider world of a bygone era - I always feel like I learn a lot that way.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  3. I hate it when titles are misleading like that..but I do love historical fiction, so I'm putting this on my list.

    1. A couple weeks ago, I went to an author panel and they were talking about how particular publishers had gotten about how books are titled. If it doesn't have some sort of intriguing character in the title, it just isn't as exciting!


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