08-06-2007 01:26 PM
08-06-2007 02:20 PM
08-06-2007 03:01 PM
08-07-2007 09:42 AM
The thing that surprised me the most is not only did MA surround herself with lavish entertainment and belongings, but she also gave extravagant amounts to help her friend Yolande de Polignac have a higher standard of living and a higher place in society. But she not only helped Yolande and her husband- but she also helped Yolande's father and mother, her whole family.
I think if I were a citizen of France I would feel a great resentment towards MA for this, as I'm sure those who knew this was going on did.
On the other hand, I suppose MA couldn't be friends with a commoner, or someone who didn't wear the right fashion and jewels, so maybe MA felt she had to do this in order to be friends with Yolande. Honestly, I don't think I could be best friends with someone like the Princess de Lamballe for long. Someone who has no thoughts or opinions for herself, simply following whoever chooses to lead her and involve her in their life.
08-07-2007 10:10 AM
08-07-2007 01:17 PM
08-07-2007 01:57 PM
— Jorge Luis Borges
08-07-2007 02:08 PM
08-07-2007 04:51 PM
08-07-2007 10:17 PM
I also got the impression that she was lonely and maybe even a little bored. There are too many examples of her compassion and concern for others to simply dismiss her as selfish and indulgent. She wanted nothing more than to be a good wife and queen and to produce an heir to make everyone happy. In the beginning of the book Louis seems to have little interest in her, which must have been devastating, so she turned to her friends and other interests.
And I am quite sure she didn't know why Louis couldn't perform his husbandly duties. It made her feel that she was at fault also. As a immature teen she turned to other divices to divert her pain and agony.
08-09-2007 10:49 AM
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
08-09-2007 10:57 AM
08-12-2007 10:51 PM
In reading Abundance I really felt for MA. The way I read her portrayal in the book was as someone who was a little misunderstood because of her station in life. You know what they say when you assume.....I also began to feel that the people of France judged and treated their royalty harshly at that time. I guess that makes sense since it all lead to and revolved around their revolution. I really felt for MA. She was human just like the rest of us. I can not imagine living a life like hers.
08-13-2007 03:55 PM
Reading the opening chapters of Abundance, I was reminded at how very young MA was when she was sent to France. I also seem to remember that MA was not really that well-prepared intellectually for her future role, although that wasn't covered in the book.
08-18-2007 07:37 PM
What did you know about Marie Antoinette before reading this novel? About the Reign of Terror? What surprised you most as you read?
I knew only what I had been told in school about Marie Antoinette. There was nothing there that interested me even so much as to cause me to see the recent movie about MA.
I have not delved deeply into the Reign of Terror, but do know enough that I wish to know more, to be able to compare and contrast the revolutions in America and, later, in the more savage one in France.
My greatest surprise in reading "Abundance" is how much I have come to care for MA and about what will be happening next to her in the book. There are surprises at every turn as I read the book, discovering the new-to-me Marie Antoinette. It takes a skilled writer to hook me again and again throughout the book.
In the beginning, I am amazed at the sweetness of the fourteen year old child bride trying so hard to please and fit in and bring credit to her family of orgin while adapting so well to her new husband, family and court. This is not at all what I had expected of the MA from my past.
Sena has managed to turn me around completely and make me care, within so short a space in the book. I am willing to suspend disbelief and follow this delightful, vital young woman on her trip through life, cherishing each moment in her foreshortened life, both her triumphs and her failures. The knowledge that MA will die so horribly undoubtedly helps me to wish for her happiness while it is possible in her doomed life. Sena has created a Marie Antoinette who, while flawed, still keeps trying to do good and to live a dutiful life, even while living a life of unimaginable privilege and luxury for which she was born and bred.
I am fascinated to see her grow in maturity despite the frivolities of court life.
I am appalled to see the Dauphin and Dauphine become King and Queen at such a young age, (22 and 23, if I remember aright?) with no obvious preparation for the gravity and duties of their new roles.
I am still only toward the end of Act Four and am finding that it is more difficult to read about what is beginning to happen to her, as the dire forbodings begin to rise with the introduction of the duplicitous Cardinal de Rohan and his amoral cohorts in the scandal of the diamond necklace. Prior to this there have only been passing references to yellow press invectives against MA, her husband and royals in general.
Now the suspense builds for me, and I have the feeling that the walls are beginning to close in on her. Sena does a wonderful job of humanizing MA so fully that we are pulling for her to do well throughout her life and now, as one ominous happening follows another.
I am surprised at how accessible Marie Antoinette feels to us over two hundred years later and in our vastly different way of life. We are pulled seamlessly into the French Court, into the Dauphine's bedchamber, into her tete-a-tetes with courtiers, into her everyday life, as if she were someone we might be able and willing to know.
How very amazing and what a gift that is! All thanks to Sena.