My Royal Story: Marie Antionette by Kathryn Lasky, historical fiction, 221 pages, first published by Scholastic Inc. in 2000, this edition published by Scholastic Ltd. in 2010.
Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna is the youngest daughter of the Empress and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and she is destined to become Marie Antionette, Queen of France. It is 1769, and the child Antonia is only thirteen, but she is soon expected to marry the dauphin of France, Louis Auguste, who will ascend the throne once his grandfather passes. Antonia must learn many things as she leaves her childhood and her home in Austria to evolve into Marie Antionette of France.
This diary style historical fiction is based on the teenage years of Marie Antionette, who ruled France with her husband, Louis XVI, in the late 1700s. It is a very interesting story told in first person diary entries beginning when Antonia is just thirteen. It explores her world as an Archduchess, and her transformation from child into adult, wife and future leader of France. So much is expected of her at such a young age. Her mother believes that her successful marriage to the dauphin of France will secure peace in Europe, and as such, Antonia has much responsibility and power resting upon her young shoulders. The extravagance of court and palace life is almost unimaginable, as is the strict etiquette and sheltered lifestyle these rulers lead. They are so far removed from those that they rule over, it is no wonder that revolution came to France.
An engaging story well executed, My Royal Story: Marie Antionette, is suitable for upper primary school students and older. This is a great way to introduce some history into your child’s life. By telling the story from Marie Antionette’s perspective as a teenager, it helps the young reader to identify and empathise with her. There were also some historical notes and family trees at the end of the story, explaining a little bit about the time period and what happened to Marie Antionette, Louis Auguste and their children. Using the story to spark interest in this part of history can be a springboard for exploring the life and death of Marie Antionette and the changes that descended upon France and Europe in the late eighteenth century more thoroughly.
My Royal Story: Marie Antionette is only one title in the My Royal Story series, and I am interested in reading more of these titles. History can be very dry, but I was pleased to find a book that makes discovering history fun and compels one to investigate the historical period and figures further.