Friday, October 14, 2011

Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

Rating 4 out of 5
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 853 KB
Print Length: 432 pages
ISBN: 0307588653
Publisher: Quercus (March 3, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

 We all know the name, and the famous wax museum. But what do you really know about the woman who was Madam Tussuad? If your like me probably not much. In fact I didn’t even know she lived in the 1700’s during the French Revolution.I confess to not knowing much about the French Revolution. I knew it had happened, I know there was a famous mis-quote “let them eat cake”, the musical Le Miserable is about it and has some cool songs…um that’s kinda it really. So I was pleased to read this book that was set during this turbulent time of France. It was fresh and interesting perspective into the French Revolution.

The book begins prior to the Revolution with the future Revolutionaries meeting in secret in the home of Marie’s uncles home and shop which was a wax works display. We get to meet Marie (who was Groholt at that stage not Tussaud), her family, and close family friends.

I thought I might try a character interview for this review. Hope you like it.

You are a woman ahead of your times, wanting and having a career, and trying to balance a career with family. You are an amazing role model for all women. Is there anything you hope women will take away from your story? Thank you for saying that it means a lot. I never considered myself to be a role model, but I did want a different life for myself. I was very lucky with the opportunities I was given, and that I had a gift. It was not an easy path to walk, sacrifices were made. I guess the main thing I would wan't other women to take away from my story is that; the path you choose may not be easy, but if you believe and want it bad enough, you can make it happen.

You have an amazing and supporting family do you think they helped you achieve the success you achieved? Definitely, my Uncle taught me the trade of wax modelling for starters. He also kept our family a float during the worst of the Revolution. My mother was always a wonderful source of support and delicious food. Both were savvy business people in different ways.

Did you ever regret not fleeing Paris when you had the chance? Of course I did, still do. Would things have been better, or easier? probably. But I made my choice, and I chose to stay and ensure my family had a lively hood to fall back on when the Revolution was over. There is no point looking back on what might have been, I made my choices and I stand by them right or wrong.

Did you worry about playing both sides as it were? Definitely, it was literally walking on a swords edge. But it was a game we had to play, with the Revolutionaries or the Royalists would win, and we HAD to be on the winning side.

Which side were you on? That is the big question isn't it? I was friends with some of the Royals, and don't believe they deserved the end they got. But I was also friends with some of the Revolutionaries. Both sides were as bad as each other, just coming from different directions. You had the opulence, wealth and waste of the Royalty and the poverty, starvation of the Revolutionaries.

You very cleverly didn't really answer my question? At the end of the day as I said previously it was about staying in business, I was going to be on the winners side. That is all I am going to say on the matter.

There is no doubt the Revolution was full of sadness and barbarity, but you seemed to find some peaceful and beautiful moments amongst the turmoil. What was one of your best memories? Probably my time spent with Princess Lisbeth teaching her to sculpt. When I was at her chateau it was as if all the troubles and sadness of the Revolution fell away. I was in a different world. I miss Lisbeth.

What was the most surprising moment during the Revolution? It would have to be when I visited the Marquis De Sade in the Bastille. I always imagined it to be, well, like a prison. But instead it was like a hotel. They had all sorts of stuff, including pets. If they had the money then they could purchase what ever luxury their heart desired.

So give us the scoop, what was the King and Queen really like? I really don't like to say, but I liked them as people and I am saddened by what happened to them. They were good to me, my family, and our wax museum. I feel they were however mis-informed by their advisers, and kept insulated from what was really happening in Paris and France. Perhaps if they had better advisers, things would have turned out differently. They didn't deserve what happened to them.

So you were pleased with the Revolutionaries who ordered their executions were eventually tried and convicted themselves? Certainly not, some of those people were my friends as well, at least in the start. Power seemed to corrupt them. They became the very things they were fighting against. No one was a winner during this time, and no one was in the right.

To conclude, what was your biggest achievement? Besides my children? and the wax museum? I would have to say staying alive. It very nearly didn't happen. For so many it didn't happen. I lost many friends and loved ones during that period. To say I  lived would have to be a great achievement wouldn't you say?

Thank you for your time Madame Tussaud it has been a pleasure.

For more information and an excerpt of the book please visit Michelle Moran's blog.

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