Madame Tussaud

Madame Tussaud

A Novel of the French Revolution

Book - 2011
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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.
Publisher: New York : Crown, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307588654
Branch Call Number: FIC Mora
Characteristics: 448 p

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fashiongirl
Jun 05, 2018

I really enjoyed this! Especially because the author described in detail all of the historical garments worn by all of the characters. A must read for anyone that likes historical fashions. Additionally, the author provided a list of characters for the reader, a timeline of the french revolution, and translations for common french words utilized in the book.

Chapel_Hill_AmandaG Mar 15, 2017

This was my first Michelle Moran book and will definitely not be my last! Moran did an excellent job of immersing the reader in the world of the French Revolution and describing the absolute madness and terror of the time. Marie was a fascinating and fully fleshed out character and I would love to someday see a part two about her life traveling around England. This was also a great education on the events of the French Revolution because Marie and her family were present at every new development and luckily seemed to have connections with all the major players. It was one of the few books I’ve read that portrayed both sides of the Revolution. Marie’s family was in an interesting position because they had ties to the royal family because of her brother’s being in the Swiss Guard and Marie’s being an art tutor to the king’s sister. However, they were all about catering to the demands of the public and doing whatever they had to do to keep their heads. Would recommend this to all lovers of great historical fiction!

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HopeButterfly
Jun 18, 2015

I liked how Moran wrote this book. It was very informative and helped me feel that I understood the French Revolution so much easier. Just what I was looking for. I didn't realize the very dangerous but exciting life she lived before she even started her life over once again after the Reign of Terror was over. What a time!!!! to live!!!!

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josephinemagdelana
Jun 03, 2015

I am over halfway done this book and I am thoroughly enjoying it! It's detailed but easy to read. I am totally immersed in it. Love her style of writing. And, if you love anything French, you will love this book too. Historical fiction is my new love.

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vv8
Jun 01, 2015

Very detailed historical fiction account of the wax artist, Marie Grosholtz, during the French Revolution. Engaging and interesting, but weighed down with so much information. I enjoyed it but I don't think it would be for everybody. I'm excited to look into Moran's other titles soon!

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TheresaAJ
Apr 08, 2015

It was pretty surreal to read about Marie Grosholtz's life while enjoying perfect beach weather at Tybee Island. Moran does a good job of portraying the horrors of the French Revolution from 1788 through 1794. I walked away from the novel thinking of Marie's salon and wax works as the "social media" of her day. From begging Marie Antoinette's dressmaker to grant her an audience to visiting the coffee shops to gather the latest "who's in, who's out" news to her final stand against the revolutionaries, Marie (the future Madame Tussaud) has a front row seat on French history.

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finn75
Oct 04, 2013

I do love a good historical novel and this is one of the better ones I have read in ages! It follows the life of the woman now known as Madame Tussaud as she tries to straddle both sides of the bloody French revolution. With friends on both sides it makes for a tense read as you keep waiting for the knock on the door that you know will come. At the end of the book it also explains what happens to each of the characters in real life. Great stuff!!

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joliebergman
Apr 18, 2013

A very gruesome tale melted in glass eyes, powdered wigs, and of course: wax.

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Jamore
Aug 23, 2012

I really liked this book. The historical part was really well researched, and the fiction was a good read. A little Forrest Gumpy at times in that she seemed to be meeting the right people at exactly the right time, but overall an entertaining read.

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Suemahovsky
Aug 17, 2012

I enjoyed this book immensely, although yes it was a bit light in the loafers but a great read and really quick and enjoyable. No mention of Tallyrand who was such an important person before, during and after the revolution. Pretty chummy with Danton too, so bit odd he wasnt mentioned and Danton and Robespierre were, but still, a really enjoyable novel.

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