Carolyn Meyer's latest edition to the Young Royals series is the historical fiction novel, The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette. With an authentic voice, Meyer illustrates the life of a young Antonia, the name Marie Antoinette was known as during her youth in Austria. Written as a first person account, The Bad Queen reads like a diary of a young woman whose life begins and ends as being nothing more than a political pawn. Divided into four parts, the reader is introduced to the woman history has attributed with saying, "Let them eat cake!"
Fans of young adult fiction will enjoy Meyer's novel which begins in the year 1768. Part one of The Bad Queen documents the struggles of a young Antonia, who has been forced into an arranged marriage at the behest of her mother, the Empress. Each chapter begins with a rule given to Antonia, with the first rule for the Dauphine being to "marry well." The reader cannot help but sympathize with a young girl forced to change her name and appearance in an effort to benefit Austria, her native country.
With each successive rule, Meyer clearly paints a portrait of Marie Antoinette that contradicts the overwhelming impressions most closely associated with the famous Queen of France. Throughout part one, I could not help but pity Marie Antoinette. She was desperately trying to please her mother, while marrying a man who showed no interest in her and was unwelcome by the Parisians. Blamed for everything, Marie Antoinette is an easy scapegoat for all the ills of the era.
The Bad Queen begins from a little known perspective of Marie Antoinette. After the death of her mother, the story begins to flow with Marie Antoinette evolving into the frivolous persona she is most closely associated with. Due to the way Meyer introduces the reader to Marie Antoinette, the reader cannot help but feel compassion for her. Deprived of love and ridiculed for her inability to produce an heir in a timely fashion, Marie Antoinette seeks solace in superficial belongings and the arms of a devoted lover.
Historical fiction fans and any reader who enjoys a tragic romance will surely enjoy Caroline Meyer's The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette. Reminder List rates this book as unforgettable, earning it three stars!