Chantal Thomas is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. She is the author of The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette. This is her first novel.
Farewell, My Queen
by Chantal Thomas, translated by Moishe Black
Hardcover, 239 pages
$22.50 (Can $25.50)
A woman whose function it once was to read books aloud to Marie-Antoinette is haunted by the memory of her last days at the French court of Versailles, when Louis XVI's magnificent palace succumbed to the irrepressible forces of revolution. Now exiled in Vienna, Madame Agathe-Sidonie Laborde looks back twenty-one years to the legendary opulence of Versailles and, overcome with nostalgia and remorse, discovers the full measure of her fascination with the Queen she served.
Transporting us to eighteenth-century France with the skill of a consummate storyteller, Chantal Thomas meticulously re-creates the miniature universe of Versailles, brilliantly juxtaposing its beauty and its dawn-to-dusk ritual with the chaos that erupts. Her portrait of Versailles and of Marie-Antoinette is an incomparable account of the collapse of a lost world.