“. . . [A] behind-the-scenes peek at Versailles . . . and an account of a fraught mother-daughter relationship. . . . [A] graceful guide . . .”
– The New York Times
This fascinating and poignant collection of letters between Marie Antoinette, the doomed dauphine and future queen of France, and her mother, Maria Theresa, archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary and Bohemia, provide a revealing portrait of the legendary queen’s tragic life and the age in which she lived. Beginning in 1770 when the young princess departed for France and ending with Maria Theresa’s death in 1780, these intimate letters reveal the hostility the young dauphine encountered at Versailles, her flouting of court etiquette, and her interference in court politics. Maria Theresa offers her daughter constant advice on everything from matters of state to sex. These remarkable letters are superbly translated by Olivier Bernier, an acclaimed expert on eighteenth-century France, who also provides extensive commentary.
“[Marie Antoinette] remains an unforgettable royalist heroine . . . she never fails to move us. [Olivier Bernier’s] vision of complicated events is always clear and understandable; his theories of history rethought. . . . Donnez-moi mon Bernier!”
“[This book] will change our picture of eighteenth-century France and deepen our understanding of power, naiveté, and corruption.”
– Gloria Steinem.