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Marie Antoinette

Narrated by: Eleanor Bron
Length: 20 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Summary

Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.

In this biography Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, Louis XVI, the accusations and sexual slurs made against her, her patronage of the arts which enhanced French cultural life, her imprisonment, the death threats made against her, rumours of lesbian affairs, her trial (during which her young son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and her eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.

©2002 Antonia Fraser (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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Spectacular.

What made the experience of listening to Marie Antoinette the most enjoyable?

Eleanor Bron brought to life Antonia Fraser's writing. Beautifully and sympathetically written casting a very different light on Marie-Antoinette's life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Marie-Antoinette.

She was so very sweet, yet remarkably modern.

Which character – as performed by Eleanor Bron – was your favourite?

Marie-Antoinette, but it's hard to fault any of Ms. Bron's characterisations.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found the story incredibly moving and enlightening.

Any additional comments?

I learned so much information from having listened to this that my entire opinion of the reign of their Majesties has been altered. An incredible book, exquisitely researched and lovingly written and narrated. 10/10

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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History well researched & told; voice falls short

What made the experience of listening to Marie Antoinette the most enjoyable?

Fraser has done her homework, giving a full, humane and insightful account of her subject's upbringing and character. Her contextual information (politics, family power-plays, protocol, international relationships, etc) ensures the reader is aware of the wider world surrounding the individual woman, whom she has brought vividly to life.

What did you like best about this story?

As well as being sound in her research, Fraser writes well, and she is especially deft and assured in describing (with occasional, appropriately-pitched speculation) the wide-ranging and increasingly severe political pressures gathering around her young subject.

What about Eleanor Bron’s performance did you like?

Bron's enunciation is excellent, and her distinctive voice should be perfect for the book. She is known to be a fine actor, but in this performance she disappoints: at times she seems to be keeping an eye on the clock, for she maintains a pace that does not allow timely pauses at sensitive moments. To this somewhat relentless 'drive' she adds at many times a rather strident pitch. The overall effect is recitation rather than narration, and it intrudes into the story. Disappointing.

Any additional comments?

Still worth buying and listening to, for the story is solid and well told, and Bron's telling of it is certainly good enough; just wish it were better.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A wronged woman?

This biography charts the life of Marie Antoinette from her noble birth, through marriage and eventual demise. I believe it is a more sympathetic reading of her life than others have given. It has plenty of detail about her life and the life of the court and gives a well rounded impression of this sad queen of France.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Blamed for everything but guilty of nothing.

Marie Antoinette a much maligned woman, treated with compassion by Antonia Fraser and given voice by Eleanor Bron. Sent from her family in her early teens Marie Antoinette is left to find her own way around the closed French court. She goes from much loved queen to reviled traitor who faces the " justice " of a revolutionary court and an appointment with the guillotine. A good listen, all be it very long, which will set straight any and all beliefs about Queen Marie Antoinette.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Long but worth it

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If they'd be interested to know more about Marie Antoinette and that period, yes I would recommend this book. It is long but it very enjoyable and gives you so much about the life of MA.

What did you like best about this story?

All the details I did not know about Marie-Antoinette and other people around her

What does Eleanor Bron bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narrator is good but I would not say exceptional, however she does a good job with this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes absolutely. It is a very sympathetic account of MA but non the less facscinating and well researched.

What did you like best about this story?

It flowed well and the description of MA and court life were well written, feeding the imagination as you listen. Not a boring moment.

What does Eleanor Bron bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Very well narrated, Eleanor Bron's voice is a lot like Antonia Fraser's which I liked as I felt the author was reading the story.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes. A very emotional story from start to finish. I felt a lot of empathy towards MA, another story of a female scape goat and how money does not bring lasting happiness.

Any additional comments?

Would highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A delight.

I have been obsessed with the figure of Marie Antoinette since my teenage years, however I felt my knowledge of her life lacked massively in parts, especially the earlier and later years. I am incredibly grateful to Antonia Fraser for filling me in on this sad queen's full and fantastic life. As a person who hasn't experienced great luck myself, it was incredibly comforting to hear of Marie Antoinette's headstrong and courageous attitude to every harsh experience (of which there were many). The narrator's performance was perfect and easily to follow despite all the french names. Even if you have a passing interest in Marie Antoinette, read this. You won't be disappointed.

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Captivating and comprehensive

A wonderfully engaging and captivating summary of Marie Antoinette's life. At times a little character-dense, as life at Versailles was, but thoroughly interesting and at times emotive.

The narration was perfect in tone and performance. A very enjoyable listen.

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Fabulous

Ive a much-thumbed genuinely loved hard copy & wasnt sure how audio would work for me but I was grabbed all over again.

Fraser’s work on Marie Antoinette is a remarkable feat of research & collation & that final infinitely poignant chapter ties the perfect analytical and thematic bow.

Its no mean feat to talk us through this book - the narrator does this well.

If you enjoy historical accounts & commentaries I cant recommend the qualities of this book highly enough!

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Deeply engrossing and wonderfully narrated

I already have the hard copy of this book which I read several years ago. I'm a great fan of Lady Antonia Fraser's work having read Henry the eighth and Mary Queen of Scott's. Her obvious passion for research and her prose are wonderful
I was deeply moved by the injustice Marie Antoinette suffered . This was a fantastically written and beautifully narrated book.
I saw a review that statedthe narrator spoke too quickly, I did not find this to be the case but i wanted to savour every word and listenend at x 0.95 rather x1.00.

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  • Michelle
  • 26-10-16

10/10, will read again.

Lovely and soothing narrator, she made Marie-Antoinette's tragic tale bearable during her gruesome times. It makes for such an easy to listen to audiobook. The narrator breathe so much life into this 20 hour history book that makes you believe there is still hope for the Queen despite the fact that we all know what's going to happen.