Tuesday, December 28, 2010

YA Historical Fiction Month Review: The Bad Queen by Carolyn Meyer

The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette by Carolyn Meyer
History paints her as a shallow party girl, a spoiled fashionista, a callous ruler. Perhaps no other royal has been so maligned—and so misunderstood—as Marie-Antoinette.

From the moment she was betrothed to the dauphin of France at age fourteen, perfection was demanded of Marie-Antoinette. She tried to please everyone—courtiers, her young husband, the king, the French people—but often fell short of their expectations. Desperate for affection and subjected to constant scrutiny, this spirited young woman can’t help but want to let loose with elaborate parties, scandalous fashions, and unimaginable luxuries. But as Marie-Antoinette’s lifestyle gets ever-more recklessly extravagant, the peasants of France are suffering from increasing poverty—and becoming outraged. They want to make the queen pay.


I have read almost all of Carolyn Meyer’s books and loved every one of them. She writes such great novels about females in history and presents their stories in an intriguing and enjoyable way. The Bad Queen was no exception.

I’ve read quite a bit about Marie-Antoinette, but never a whole novel about her. The Bad Queen spanned over the course of her whole life. From the time she was a young child to her death; in which case her daughter takes up the tale. My heart went out to Marie-Antoinette because she really wasn’t a bad person. Her life was just difficult. She was married off at a young age to a boy who didn’t understand marriage and ruling at all. King Louis XVI was another character in the novel I had never read about. Meyer wrote an intriguing look at the life of one of history’s most famous couples and opened readers eyes to how difficult things were for them, especially in their final days.

Marie-Antoinette was a controversial character. Her excessive spending and arrangement of extravagant balls was obviously not a good choice, but readers can still sympathize with her because she was so oblivious to what was really going on and was dealing with a lot. Carolyn Meyer presented both sides of Marie-Antoinette and I got really attached to her by the end of the story.

The historical facts included in the story were especially interesting. Reading about the fashions and rules of the court and the different people that Marie-Antoinette encountered throughout her life was one of my favorite aspects of the book. Each chapter began with a new rule Marie-Antoinette had to follow at the French Court and some of them were so extreme!

The Bad Queen was another great novel by Carolyn Meyer. It presented the famous French Queen in a new light and the facts were impressive and thorough. I highly recommend this to historical fiction fans!

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

April 12, 2010/Harcourt Children's Books/420 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Author


  1. I love Carolyn Meyer and Marie Antoinette, so I'll have to check this book out! Thanks for the review :)

  2. I've had this one on the TBR list for a while now, your review made me infinitely more excited for it! Thanks for the review!

  3. Oh my gosh I LOVE historical fiction. I have never read one about Marie. I don't even know much about her. I love that cover.

  4. I recently read Revolution, and now I think I need to read this one to get more of that time period. Sounds like a great "read alike." Thanks!

  5. I recently read Revolution, and now I think I need to read this one to get more of that time period. Sounds like a great "read alike." Thanks!

  6. I just read a positive review for this one! Now yours is just as glowing. I'm definitely going to try to read this one for my historical fiction challenge. Thanks!

    I also hadn't heard about this author before, so thanks for the heads up on her and her other works.

  7. Marie Antoinette always reminded me of a socialite with Daddy's credit card who gets in big trouble once she realizes credit is not free money. I am looking forward to reading about the fashions. Thanks for the review!

  8. Great review. I love this genre of novel. I've added it to my TBR list.

  9. This sounds great - can't get any better than 5 out of 5 stars!
    june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

  10. Great review! This one has been in my TBR pile for ages but now I think I'll be reading it sooner than later.

  11. Great review!!!! (as always!!!!) This book looks soooo good!!!!! I am LOVING all the historical fiction reviews--I really love the idea that some of the coolest stories really did happen!!!!

  12. Great review! I read this a few months ago and really enjoyed it too.


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