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The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette

A Novel

Carolly Erickson

St. Martin's Griffin

Imagine that, on the night before she is to die under the blade of the guillotine, Marie Antoinette leaves behind in her prison cell a diary telling the story of her life—from her privileged childhood as Austrian Archduchess to her years as glamorous mistress of Versailles to the heartbreak of imprisonment and humiliation during the French Revolution.

Carolly Erickson takes the reader deep into the psyche of France’s doomed queen: her love affair with handsome Swedish diplomat Count Axel Fersen, who risked his life to save her; her fears on the terrifying night the Parisian mob broke into her palace bedroom intent on murdering her and her family; her harrowing attempted flight from France in disguise; her recapture and the grim months of harsh captivity; her agony when her beloved husband was guillotined and her young son was torn from her arms, never to be seen again.

Erickson brilliantly captures the queen’s voice, her hopes, her dreads, and her suffering. We follow, mesmerized, as she reveals every detail of her remarkable, eventful life—from her teenage years when she began keeping a diary to her final days when she awaited her own bloody appointment with the guillotine.

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Chapter One 
June 17, 1769
 
My name is Archduchess Maria Antonia, called Antoinette, and I am thirteen years and seven months old, and this is the record of my life.
 
Writing in this journal is my punishment. Father Kunibert, my confessor, has told me to write down all my sins in this journal so that I may reflect on them and pray for forgiveness.
 
"Write!" he said, pushing the book toward me, his thick white eyebrows going up, making him look ferocious.
 
"Write what you have done! Confess!"
 
"But I have done nothing wrong," I
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  • The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Carolly Erickson's historical novel The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette. Imagine that, on the night before she is to die under the blade of the guillotine, Marie Antoinette leaves behind in her prison cell a diary telling the story of her life—from her privileged childhood as Austrian Archduchess to her years as glamorous mistress of Versailles to the heartbreak of imprisonment and humiliation during the French Revolution.

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Praise for The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette

“Writers of historical fiction must tread a fine line between loving one's protagonists while telling the truth about them. Carolly Erickson has executed this balancing act with the same scorching wit and greatheartedness that has always illuminated her biographies. The old "let them eat cake" myth has once and forever been exploded, yet the author resists the temptation to sentimentalize or simplify the maddeningly complex character of Marie Antoinette.” --*Robin Maxwell, author of THE SECRET DIARY OF ANNE BOLEYN

“Carolly Erickson turns cold fact to hot fiction in her first historical novel. THE HIDDEN DIARY OF MARIE ANTOINTETTE lets a much-maligned woman speak for herself -- in exquisitely precise prose that illuminates her growth from innocent princess to unloved wife to doomed queen. Erickson lets us see that Marie Antoinette's life tragically mirrors the plight of a France headed for bloody revolution -- and reveals the very human truth behind history's mask.” --India Edghill, author of QUEENMAKER and WISDOM'S DAUGHTER

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Carolly Erickson

  • Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of Rival to the Queen, The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots, The First Elizabeth, The Hidden Life of Josephine, The Last Wife of Henry VIII, and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. Her novel The Tsarina’s Daughter won the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. She lives in Hawaii.
  • Carolly Erickson Photo: Brian Reed
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    The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette

    A Novel

    Carolly Erickson

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Griffin

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