Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review of Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey

Title/Author: Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow (Marie Antoinette #2) by Juliet Grey
Publisher/Date published: Ballantine Books, May 15th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years in the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s most legendary and notorious queen.
Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.
From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles — one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever."

So you guys might remember that I enjoyed Becoming Marie Antoinette, the first book in this series, especially the last part, in which I finally connected to Marie Antoinette. So of course I was eager to continue learning about her part of history with the second book in this trilogy about her life!

I'm glad to say that I immediately connected to Marie Antoinette again and maybe it was easier to relate to her now because of her age, she's becoming an adult and actually starts to take responsibility for things. Not right away, she's still also the queen who ditched a dress after wearing it once and spend a LOT of money for her couture and her just as much couture hair dressings! The poufs the wore sounds insane and absurd, but apparently it was fashionable at the time.

Like I said in my review of Becoming Marie Antoinette, I'm not that familiar with her story other than that she was killed in the French Revolution. And I knew that the people of France didn't like her very much. I didn't know that their dislike of her went so far that there were a lot of hurtful pamphlets printed and she was critisized for everything, even for wanting to be a good mother and spending time with her children.

I really felt for her, she was trying to be a good queen, but with little guidance, only some through the letters she got from her mother, well, it must have been hard. She did have a huge gambling problem and spent a LOT of money when the treasury was basically going empty. I kept wondering why noone put a stop to this. I mean, sure she was the queen, but that doesn't mean you have to keep giving her money to gamble away right? I could understand the reasoning from Louis that is being used in this story: he couldn't give her what she wanted most, a child, so he tried to give her everything else.

And seriously, I cheered for this pair when they were finally able to consummate the marriage and when Marie Antoinette got pregnant! I truly believe they both were loving parents and also loved each other, even though they probably wouldn't have chosen to marry if they'd had a say in the matter. I really enjoyed the friendship between the king and queen. I don't

But there are the days of sorrow: both times the pair loses a child and the miscarriages and the death of Marie Antoinette's mother. The treachery at court and the downfall and the French Revolution that slowly starts to take form in this novel. I felt real sympathy for the king and queen, cause although they didn't make all the right choices, a lot of it was due to it being done like that for ages and they just fell into the traditions.

I really, really enjoyed learning more about Marie Antoinette's history and the period she and Louis XVI reigned. I think Juliet Grey did a wonderful job breathing life into these historical figures and I am definitely reading the last instalment, The Last October Sky!

My rating: 4 stars


  1. Sounds like a really good historical read!
    I always get really sad when a couple who really want to have kids, can't :(
    So I would probably find this pretty sad.

    Thanks for the review!! :D

  2. I love reading anything with a historical bent - and this particular figure in history (Marie Antoinette) definitely interests me. Sounds like a great book!