by Juliet Grey

Ballantine, $15.00, 465 pages

A richly detailed story by Juliet Grey, Becoming Marie Antoinette tells about the unique childhood of Marie Antonia, daughter of the Empress of Austria, as she inevitably becomes a pawn in her mother’s political aspirations. The story is told from the point-of-view of Marie as she recalls her challenging political and emotional journey toward her fate – betrothal to the young future heir of France’s crown, Louis the Sixteenth.

Naïve and sheltered in her Austrian palace, ten-year-old Marie is unprepared for the role suddenly assigned to her. She reluctantly conforms to her mother’s plans to completely transform her into the perfect specimen ready for French royalty. Facing her new role as dauphine of France, Marie Antoinette must learn how to maneuver the political and social pitfalls of the French royal court to align nations and influence the fate of the European world.

If you aren’t familiar with the history of Marie and Louis XVI, this book will keep you wondering what will become of this awkward teenage couple. Keep in mind that this is the first book of a new trilogy; otherwise, you might be disappointed that the ending leaves so much of their story untold. But don’t worry – the next book is scheduled for publication soon!

Aimee Rasmussen