Book Review: Madame Tussaud, A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

Madame Tussaud was born Anna Maria Grosholtz (known as Marie in the book). Her mother is Swiss. Her father was a soldier and died from wounds after fighting in the Seven Years' War. After her father's death they moved to Paris. She has three brothers that are in the Swiss Guard. The family speaks both French and German. Marie learned to sculpture and cast wax replicas of people from a man named Philippe Curtius. It was Curtius that gave Marie's mother a job as housekeeper when they arrived in Paris. Marie has a talent for this art, she also has a talent for business which includes commercializing the product and sales. For the 18th century she was rarity, a women with independent means. The book begins in 1788 and the rumblings of a revolution are in France. The people have become incensed by the wealthy, aristocratic, flamboyant, royal household. The people are seething with anger, animosity, and venomous hatred. Marie meets Rose Bertin the official dressmaker of Marie Antoinette. Through Rose, Marie is able to meet the royal family and cast their wax figures. Marie is then able to have intimate contact with the royal family.

Madame Tussaud addresses several themes.
1. Madame Tussaud's biography.
2. French Revolution.
3. Thomas Jefferson's friendship with and influence of Marquis de Lafayette.
4. Royal family.
5. Men and women who were involved in the French Revolution, including those who were on the opposing end and were either imprisoned and or murdered: Robespeirre, Foulon, Marquis de Sade, Duc de Orleans, Josephine de Beauharnais

Positive Points:
  •  I admired Marie's ambitions in her career, her talents and abilities, and her selfless dedication to her family. The author Michelle Moran brought Marie to life and gave her a well-rounded persona that reflected these admirable traits.
  • When the book did pick up speed, It was difficult to put the book down----the characters who I'd grown to care about were in peril. The suspense and terror of the revolution made my heart pound.
 Negative Points:
  • The reader views the historical events through Marie's eyes. The people she has contact with, which was the royal family, and those people who were involved in the organization of the revolution. She had minimal contact with the people who were below her economic status.
  • I felt the book did not begin to peak my interest till mid-point. This was when the story picked up speed.
Published by Crown Publishers a division of Random House 2011
464 pages
Historical Fiction/Biography/Literature/French Revolution/Guillotine/Marie Antoinette/Louis XVI/Robespierre/Anna Maria Grosholtz Tussaud

Link @ Amazon:
Hardcover $16.50
Kindle $10.99

Louis XVI 1754-1793
Marie Antoinette 1755-1793
Marie Antoinette and three of her children.
September in Paris Reading Challenge 2012. Third Book for this challenge.


  1. I wanted to read this in July for Bastille it's September. Oh well.
    It will continue to stare at me from my bookshelf!!
    Thanks for your thoughts!!

  2. I don't know anything about the French Revolution! It sounds interesting.

    1. I picked this up at the library yesterday and I'm loving it! :-) Thank you!


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