Customer Reviews for

Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Review from kristireads.blogspot.com

Oh my goodness. I think I just found my new favorite book.

I swear, this book was absolutely fantastic! It is by far the BEST historical fiction novel about Marie Antoinette that I've ever read. Easily. And I've read quite a few.

My favorite part about this book...
Oh my goodness. I think I just found my new favorite book.

I swear, this book was absolutely fantastic! It is by far the BEST historical fiction novel about Marie Antoinette that I've ever read. Easily. And I've read quite a few.

My favorite part about this book was the historical correctness. Very few historical novels stay as true to the real events as this one did. I mean, why do authors always want to add in outrageous twists into Marie Antoinette's life? Ms. Naslund definitely understood that Marie Antoinette's story didn't need any major embellishments. Sure, she added very minor things in here and there, but they didn't change the main plot at all. They were mostly just little points that just enhanced the story and made it better. She didn't feel the need to add in completely fictitious events, like a trip to Sweden (like in Carolly Erickson's The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette). Like the saying goes, why fix what isn't broken? (Or why change what isn't boring? is probably a better phrase).

So, obviously, Sena Jeter Naslund did absolutely fantastic research. Almost every anecdote that I've read about in biographies was at least mentioned, but many of them were actually talked about in detail. Also, the author used REAL letters and quotes in her novel (but please note that not ALL the quotes are real!). This absolutely added more to the authenticity of it! I thought it was a really nice touch that not a lot of authors do, which really is a shame. Why not use the resources you already have? I loved those parts, because I really felt like I was learning so much more about Marie Antoinette.

And, of course, I HAVE to mention Axel Fersen. However, for the first time, it's not something bad I have to say. While Naslund did say include the love affair between Marie Antoinette and Count Fersen, I think that she did it in a way that actually made it more believable than a lot of biographies present it . Naslund actually wrote it how I imagined it. I always thought that they were just innocently in love, not a passionate, physical affair. That's just the impression that I always got for some reason. I really felt like Naslund and I were on the same wavelength.

I thought that she was particularly good at portraying Marie Antoinette's relationships. She effectively showed the innocent love and friendship between the King Louis XVI and the queen; the true friendship that Marie Antoinette and the Princesse de Lamballe shared; the true, motherly affection that she had for her children, and her relationships with everyone else. I felt like each character had a unique bond with Marie Antoinette, and there were always different characteristics of each person that attracted them to each other. It really added depth to the characters and made them seem like actual people instead of just imaginary, 2-D people.

As you can tell, I absolutely, 100% loved it! The only thing I didn't like was the cover design and art. I thought it looked much too busy, but it doesn't matter. I highly recommend this one over other Marie Antoinette novels, because this one actual teaches you what really happened, but in the form of a not-biography (since biographies seem to turn people off). It's more personal and emotional, so read it!!!

posted by IHS_Colorguard on May 5, 2010

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Just Plain Annoying

Marie Antoinette was obviously a woman who left quite an impact on the world (at least, enough of an impact to have books written and read about her...). You'd never guess it by reading this book. Perhaps it's because it is narrated in the first person from Marie's poin...
Marie Antoinette was obviously a woman who left quite an impact on the world (at least, enough of an impact to have books written and read about her...). You'd never guess it by reading this book. Perhaps it's because it is narrated in the first person from Marie's point of view. Perhaps it's because it's just fluffy writing. At most, Marie mentions the way the commoners swoon at her when she's in her carriage. No other indications anywhere of why she is the notorious woman who lives on through history. Even inside her own world and her own mind, I can only find deeper meaning based on my previous knowledge of Marie Antoinette. Honestly, I've learned more about this woman from my Versailles travel guides! Naslund presents her protagonist as being very annoying and very shallow. Granted, Marie Antoinette had her shortcomings (the former descriptions included), but Naslund really polarized these traits and never touched upon the WHY. I'm at the very end of the book and cannot wait for it to be over. I'm actually saying to myself, 'Can't she die already?' - and not because I see her as a villain like the revolutionaries did, but because she is possibly the most annoying character I've ever come across in a book. I wish I could at least say that the descriptions of the settings were good, but those too bordered on mundane. Skip this one.

posted by Anonymous on September 23, 2007

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Review from kristireads.blogspot.com

    Oh my goodness. I think I just found my new favorite book.

    I swear, this book was absolutely fantastic! It is by far the BEST historical fiction novel about Marie Antoinette that I've ever read. Easily. And I've read quite a few.

    My favorite part about this book was the historical correctness. Very few historical novels stay as true to the real events as this one did. I mean, why do authors always want to add in outrageous twists into Marie Antoinette's life? Ms. Naslund definitely understood that Marie Antoinette's story didn't need any major embellishments. Sure, she added very minor things in here and there, but they didn't change the main plot at all. They were mostly just little points that just enhanced the story and made it better. She didn't feel the need to add in completely fictitious events, like a trip to Sweden (like in Carolly Erickson's The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette). Like the saying goes, why fix what isn't broken? (Or why change what isn't boring? is probably a better phrase).

    So, obviously, Sena Jeter Naslund did absolutely fantastic research. Almost every anecdote that I've read about in biographies was at least mentioned, but many of them were actually talked about in detail. Also, the author used REAL letters and quotes in her novel (but please note that not ALL the quotes are real!). This absolutely added more to the authenticity of it! I thought it was a really nice touch that not a lot of authors do, which really is a shame. Why not use the resources you already have? I loved those parts, because I really felt like I was learning so much more about Marie Antoinette.

    And, of course, I HAVE to mention Axel Fersen. However, for the first time, it's not something bad I have to say. While Naslund did say include the love affair between Marie Antoinette and Count Fersen, I think that she did it in a way that actually made it more believable than a lot of biographies present it . Naslund actually wrote it how I imagined it. I always thought that they were just innocently in love, not a passionate, physical affair. That's just the impression that I always got for some reason. I really felt like Naslund and I were on the same wavelength.

    I thought that she was particularly good at portraying Marie Antoinette's relationships. She effectively showed the innocent love and friendship between the King Louis XVI and the queen; the true friendship that Marie Antoinette and the Princesse de Lamballe shared; the true, motherly affection that she had for her children, and her relationships with everyone else. I felt like each character had a unique bond with Marie Antoinette, and there were always different characteristics of each person that attracted them to each other. It really added depth to the characters and made them seem like actual people instead of just imaginary, 2-D people.

    As you can tell, I absolutely, 100% loved it! The only thing I didn't like was the cover design and art. I thought it looked much too busy, but it doesn't matter. I highly recommend this one over other Marie Antoinette novels, because this one actual teaches you what really happened, but in the form of a not-biography (since biographies seem to turn people off). It's more personal and emotional, so read it!!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 10, 2011

    You start to adore Marie Antoinette

    The book is presented in first person by the last Queen of France herself. It goes from her becoming French to her execution. However, since it shows Marie Antoinette in such a positive light, I found myself wondering who she really was. Every one seems to know her as either this evil queen the led France into poverty or the girl misunderstood. If your looking for answers, this is not the book for you. If you just want to indulge in the life of royalty (the parties, not the execution) this is the book for you.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lovely details, a great story!

    Set in the luxurious palace of Louis XV (and later Louis XVI) this historical fiction novel about the Marie Antoinette was lovely! I could imagine all the details of life at court, and I was caught up in the intriguing plot line. Naslund follows the life of Marie Antoinette from the age of 14 (when she first moves to France) all the way to her untimely death at the guillotine. A must read for fans of historical fiction with a touch of romance!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Great read

    Marie Antoinette is captivating. Naslund depicts her in true Hapsburg/Bourbon form, as an elegant, gracious , and often misunderstood soul

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent!!

    I'm the type of person who always finds something wrong with historical novels. Especially when it's on an event or historical figure that I love which is the case with Marie Antoinette. Ms. Naslund had a perfect understanding of Marie Antoinette and the events surrounding her life. After I finished the book I was completely in shock with myself that I loved every detail of this book. It's one that I could read over and again and enjoy it as much as I did reading it the first time.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    Loved it

    Intriguing and fascinating. This book really helped me understand and feel for the queen

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2011

    Loved this book!

    Fantastic read...truly an insightful view into the life of the Queen. I couldn't put it down! So much attention to detail.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A good Preview of Marie Antoinette

    Coming from a Marie Antoinette lover this book was great. The events are real and the letters are real but the author writes it as if she was Marie Antoinette which gives you great insight as to what it may feel like to have been Marie Antoinette. The emotion in the book feels real and you will find yourself in Marie Antoinette. Follow the book with a biography and the movie and your experience with this monumental queen will be the best. A biography is a MUST if you want to learn more... this book is best just to let you feel the emotions Marie had felt.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2007

    Just Plain Annoying

    Marie Antoinette was obviously a woman who left quite an impact on the world (at least, enough of an impact to have books written and read about her...). You'd never guess it by reading this book. Perhaps it's because it is narrated in the first person from Marie's point of view. Perhaps it's because it's just fluffy writing. At most, Marie mentions the way the commoners swoon at her when she's in her carriage. No other indications anywhere of why she is the notorious woman who lives on through history. Even inside her own world and her own mind, I can only find deeper meaning based on my previous knowledge of Marie Antoinette. Honestly, I've learned more about this woman from my Versailles travel guides! Naslund presents her protagonist as being very annoying and very shallow. Granted, Marie Antoinette had her shortcomings (the former descriptions included), but Naslund really polarized these traits and never touched upon the WHY. I'm at the very end of the book and cannot wait for it to be over. I'm actually saying to myself, 'Can't she die already?' - and not because I see her as a villain like the revolutionaries did, but because she is possibly the most annoying character I've ever come across in a book. I wish I could at least say that the descriptions of the settings were good, but those too bordered on mundane. Skip this one.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Nadia

    One of my favorite books ever.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    A Real Page Turner!

    I wasn't expecting much when I purchased this book on sale. What a lovely surprise!! This book takes you in and you feel as though you are there sharing the moments. I am so glad I purchases this book and I would recommend it to all Marie Antoinette fans!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Must be added to your collection

    This is a wonderful historic fiction book. It shows another side of Marie that is not often potrayed in movies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2008

    Good Book

    I was very happy with this book it was much better than the movie.It was very well written I recommend this book to Marie Antoinette fans you will be pleased.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    Abundance offers a richly embellished glimpse into the personal life, thoughts and actions of Marie Antoinette. Ms. Naslund's book is written in such a way as to resemble an intimate diary of the life of the queen who we think we know so much about. It is made all the more personal because we know how it will end. Thoroughly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Interesting read.

    I liked the fact the book was writted in first person. It got a little too wordy with some of the descriptions. I wasn't fully aware of the goings on during this period in history, so found it educational as well as entertaining. A little long, but a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Everyone should purchase this book and read it.

    This was a very good book and I highly recommend to people who enjoy books from the very early years of Europe.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Recommended

    If you like historical fiction with many facts woven in, you will like Abundance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2013

    very enjoyable

    I like history with a little fiction added and like the way this book was done. Great summer reading.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    Excellent historical fiction

    An excellent read if you like historical fiction. Any of the books by this author are wonderful. You can't go wrong. This is a keeper.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing

    Coming from a Marie Antoinette lover this book was great. The events are real and the letters are real but the author writes it as if she was Marie Antoinette which gives you great insight as to what it may feel like to have been Marie Antoinette. The emotion in the book feels real and you will find yourself in Marie Antoinette. Follow the book with a biography and the movie and your experience with this monumental queen will be the best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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