The Wardrobe Mistress: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Meghan Masterson: A Book Review

The Wardrobe Mistress: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
Author: Meghan Masterson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: August 15th 2017
Pages: 384
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: THE WARDROBE MISTRESS is Meghan Masterson's fascinating and visceral debut, an inside look at Marie Antoinette's luxurious life in Versailles remarkably juxtaposed against life in third estate as the French Revolution gains strength. A propulsive exploration of love, loyalty, danger, and intrigue...not to be missed.

     It's Giselle Aubry's first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette's newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it's a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen's wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in Paris where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.

     From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen’s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Léon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.

     But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything...maybe even her head.

      My Review: Giselle Aubry is an undertirewoman for Marie Antoinette. She gets a big salary and lives at the most fashionable court at Versailles. However, when the French Revolution occurs, Giselle is asked to spy on Marie Antoinette for her uncle, who was once a spy for Louis XV. While she is spying on Marie Antoinette, Giselle falls for a revolutionary named Leon. However, she still sympathizes with the queen. Thus, Giselle is torn between her duty to the royal family while warming up to ideas and hopes for the revolution.

     Giselle is idealistic. She dreams of having her own clothing shop one day. She also welcomes the French Revolution because of the change in the air. However, she is very sympathetic to the Queen and does not like how the pamphlets have portrayed her.  When she has the opportunity to spy for her uncle, she takes it thinking it could be a great adventure. However, she learns that there is more than she bargained for. While I liked Giselle for most of the novel, there were times that I thought she was a bit indecisive. However, I found her to be a very relatable character because she struggled to make the right decision despite the tough circumstances she found herself in.

     Overall, this book is about love, loyalty, and duty. While I thought that Giselle and Leon were fully developed, I thought the others were flat. I thought the romance between Giselle and Leon were a bit too instant love for my taste, and I wanted their relationship to have developed more slowly. The plot was slow moving. Also, the novel suffers from too much telling rather than showing. Because of this, I felt like I was reading more of a textbook than a novel. However, I thought the author did a great job with the historical details as well as the issues set in the novel. Therefore, this is a must-read for fans of Marie Antoinette! I recommend this novel for fans of Madame Tussaud, The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette, and Becoming Marie Antoinette.

 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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