100 books like Becoming Marie Antoinette

By Juliet Grey,

Here are 100 books that Becoming Marie Antoinette fans have personally recommended if you like Becoming Marie Antoinette. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

Juliana Cummings Author Of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

From my list on historical fiction that bring real people to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a reader and writer of historical fiction for as long as I remember. As a writer, my goal is to bring these figures from the past alive again. These were real people and I want my readers to see that they are not just photos or stories in a history book.

Juliana's book list on historical fiction that bring real people to life

Juliana Cummings Why did Juliana love this book?

I loved Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir because it focuses solely on a much-forgotten woman of Tudor History. Weir gets across that Jane Gray was simply used as a political pawn. She was such a young girl, at only 17, and her parents gave no thought as to her happiness. She was scared and felt utterly alone and was handed the crown. If only for nine days, this young girl was Queen of England before her execution. She truly was an innocent traitor.

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Innocent Traitor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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A wrenching novel about the life and death of Lady Jane Grey, one of the most complex and sympathetic figures in Tudor England, by popular historian Alison Weir: ideal for fans of Wolf Hall

Lady Jane Grey was born into times of extreme danger. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she was merely a pawn in a dynastic power game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal religious fervour.

Jane's astonishing and essentially tragic story was played out during one of the most momentous periods of…


Book cover of Autobiography of Henry VIII

Juliana Cummings Author Of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

From my list on historical fiction that bring real people to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a reader and writer of historical fiction for as long as I remember. As a writer, my goal is to bring these figures from the past alive again. These were real people and I want my readers to see that they are not just photos or stories in a history book.

Juliana's book list on historical fiction that bring real people to life

Juliana Cummings Why did Juliana love this book?

I can not express how moved I was by this book. I have read extensively on Henry VIII but this book truly brought him to life. We see him not as the obese king with a fondness for the axeman, but as a smart, emotional, however somewhat egotistical, young king. We watch Henry age, fall in and out of love, and become an old man with many health problems. The characters in this book are so very real and George did a tremendous job bringing the court of Henry VIII alive for her readers.

By Margaret George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Autobiography of Henry VIII as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A paperback edition of the fictitious memoirs of King Henry VIII, published to coincide with publication of the author's new novel, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS AND THE ISLES.


Book cover of Mrs. Poe

Juliana Cummings Author Of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

From my list on historical fiction that bring real people to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a reader and writer of historical fiction for as long as I remember. As a writer, my goal is to bring these figures from the past alive again. These were real people and I want my readers to see that they are not just photos or stories in a history book.

Juliana's book list on historical fiction that bring real people to life

Juliana Cummings Why did Juliana love this book?

This is an incredible story about Edgar Allen Poe’s wife told through the eyes of his mistress. Very well done and it really gives a look into Mr. and Mrs. Poe and their marriage. But it also gives us a sense of the passionate romance between Poe and his mistress.

By Lynn Cullen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mrs. Poe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by literature's most haunting love triangle, award-winning author Lynn Cullen delivers a pitch-perfect rendering of Edgar Allan Poe, his mistress's tantalizing confession, and his wife's frightening obsession in this new masterpiece of historical fiction to which Sara Gruen says, "Mrs. Poe had my heart racing...Don't miss it!"

And make sure to check out the captivating new novel from Lynn Cullen-Twain's End-where the acclaimed author tells a fictionalized imagining of the relationship between iconic author Mark Twain and his personal secretary, Isabel Lyon.

1845: New York City is a sprawling warren of gaslit streets and crowded avenues, bustling with new…


Book cover of Mozart's Wife

Juliana Cummings Author Of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

From my list on historical fiction that bring real people to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a reader and writer of historical fiction for as long as I remember. As a writer, my goal is to bring these figures from the past alive again. These were real people and I want my readers to see that they are not just photos or stories in a history book.

Juliana's book list on historical fiction that bring real people to life

Juliana Cummings Why did Juliana love this book?

I loved this book. I adore Mozart and reading about him through the eyes of his wife, was so well done in this book. We see Mozart brought to life from his early days as a young child to his struggles with his father as an adult. Waldron captured Mozart’s brilliance, his silliness, and his all-around personality with his family. She also shows the reader that behind this man, was a woman who supported her husband despite his frivolous spending and disregard for authority. This novel was well done, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Mozart behind his music.

By Juliet Waldron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mozart's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Giddy sugarplum or calculating bitch? Pretty Konstanze aroused strong feelings among her contemporaries. Her in-law's loathed her. Mozart's friends, more than forty years after his death, remained eager to gossip about her "failures" as wife to the world's first superstar.

Maturing from child, to wife, to hard-headed widow, Konstanze would pay Mozart's debts, provide for their children, and relentlessly market and mythologize her brilliant husband.

Mozart's letters attest to his affection for Konstanze as well as to their powerful sexual bond. Nevertheless, prominent among the many mysteries surrounding the composer's untimely death: why did his much beloved Konstanze never mark…


Book cover of Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France

Kevin O'Connell Author Of Bittersweet Tapestry

From my list on fascinating women of 16th and 18th century Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

Whilst I was born in America, growing up in an old Irish family with a long history and a powerful sense of its past, I learnt a great deal of Irish, British, and European (especially French) history from an early age – proving valuable in both of my careers – one, as an international business lawyer, the other as a full-time writer of historical fiction. As a result of a “very Irish” numinous connection with the Gaelic poet, Eileen O’Connell, I frequently find myself drawn to books about strong, courageous, and memorable women – particularly those who lived in interesting times, such as the tumultuous days of Sixteenth and Eighteenth-Century Europe.  

Kevin's book list on fascinating women of 16th and 18th century Europe

Kevin O'Connell Why did Kevin love this book?

I am perhaps more familiar with – and fonder of – Marie Antoinette than I am of any other historical personage. Emersed in French history since an early age, I have had a near-lifetime fascination for this complicated woman – who never said, “Let them eat cake!” 

Having researched Antoinette exhaustively (most recently, in connection with her periodic appearances in my own books), since first reading Evelyn Lever’s masterful, beautifully-written work some twenty years ago, I have found myself frequently returning to it. I am drawn to it for its depth and detail, as well as her balanced treatment of an, in many ways, controversial figure. I recommend it as it is a perfect introduction to the life of a captivating woman, as well as presenting a highly satisfying experience for any lover of fine biography. 

By Evelyne Lever,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Married for political reasons at the age of 14, Marie Antoinette was naive, impetuous, and ill-equipped for the role in which history cast her. From her birth in Vienna in 1755 through her turbulent, unhappy marriage, the bloody turmoil of the French Revolution, her trial for high treason during which she was accused of incest, and her final beheading, Marie Antoinette's life was the tragic tale of disastrous circumstances colliding.

Drawing upon her diaries, letters, court records, and memoirs, Evelyne Lever paints a vivid portrait of Marie Antoinette, her inner circle, and the lavish court life at Versailles. What emerges…


Book cover of Marie Antoinette: Writings on the Body of a Queen

Kathleen Wellman Author Of Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France

From my list on women in early modern France.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian of early modern France and a professor at Southern Methodist University, I have taken students to Paris on a study abroad program for more than twenty summers. Students were invariably intrigued by the relationship of Henry II, Catherine de Medici, and Diane de Poitiers. The young prince married Catherine de Medici at the age of fourteen but the thirty-six-year-old Diane de Poitiers became his mistress when he was sixteen and remained so for the rest of his life. The complexities of that relationship and the significance of both women led me to conclude that the history of the Renaissance could be told through the lives of the queens and mistresses.

Kathleen's book list on women in early modern France

Kathleen Wellman Why did Kathleen love this book?

This collection of articles offers an intriguing approach to the topic of women, power, and sex by focusing on the many uses of Marie Antoinette. The essays, by prominent historians, art historians, and literary scholars, examine Marie Antoinette as a “site of history” where political and cultural contests occurred. The authors analyze pamphlets, archival materials, portraits, French Revolutionary pornography, and modern films to consider the central questions Marie Antoinette raised about her identity as a foreign queen, woman, wife, mother, and political figure.

She embodied the contradictions in old regime politics, culture, and gender identity and has been used subsequently to address political and gender issues to the present. Each essay offers a distinct, intriguing perspective on the reciprocal influence of this queen and the history of France. The collection reveals the wealth of purposes this queen served and the rich variety of interpretations she provoked.

By Dena Goodman (editor), Thomas E. Kaiser (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marie-Antoinette is one of the most fascinating and controversial figures in all of French history. This volume explores the many struggles by various individuals and groups to put right Marie's identity, and it simultaneously links these struggles to larger destabilizations in social, political and gender systems in France.

Looking at how Marie was represented in politics, art, literature and journalism, the contributors to this volume reveal how crucial political and cultural contexts were enacted "on the body of the queen" and on the complex identity of Marie. Taken together, these essays suggest that it is precisely because she came to…


Book cover of Marie Antoinette

Judith Lissauer Cromwell Author Of Florence Nightingale, Feminist

From my list on biographies of women who made a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been captivated by stories about powerful women. After a corporate career as one of the first female executives in the international world of Wall Street, while raising two children as a single working parent, I returned to academia. I am a magna cum laude graduate of Smith College, hold a doctorate in modern European history, with academic distinction, from New York University. I wanted to ascertain whether the mostly male writers of history were correct in attributing the success of exceptional women to the bedroom. Meticulous research yielded a different narrative, one I delight in sharing.

Judith's book list on biographies of women who made a difference

Judith Lissauer Cromwell Why did Judith love this book?

A concise, compelling, and beautifully told story by one of pre-World War II Europe’s finest writers.  Largely based on correspondence between Marie-Antoinette and her mother, Austrian Empress Maria-Theresa, then with the love of her life, Swedish diplomat Count Axel von Fersen, Zweig’s account clarifies the queen’s character development with grace and understanding, and paints a well-rounded, nuanced picture of Marie-Antoinette from her personal pleasures as a mother and lover, to her suffering and courage during the Revolution.  

By Stefan Zweig, Cedar Paul (translator), Eden Paul (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bringing to life one of the most complex characters in European history

Stefan Zweig based his biography of Marie Antoinette, who became the Queen of France at the age of fifteen, on the correspondence between her and her mother, and her great love the Count Axel von Fersen. Zweig analyzes the chemistry of a woman's soul from her intimate pleasures to her public suffering as a Queen under the weight of misfortune and history. Zweig describes Marie Antoinette in the King's bedroom, in the enchanted and extravagant world of the Trianon, and with her children. And in his account of…


Book cover of Marie Antoinette: The Journey

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

As a Francophone myself, I found that Fraser's biography offered a captivating study of the French monarchy. And through nuanced storytelling, it challenged conventional perceptions of Marie Antoinette. By fostering empathy for her incredible plight amid French society’s expectations, the book ultimately reshaped her historical portrayal. 

Fraser's portrayal of the characters' emotional states added depth to the Marie Antoinette’s story, making it vivid in my imagination. She also offered a sympathetic view of the queen, highlighting her tragic end. Balanced in her views, the author also challenged my misconceptions, revealing the queen’s humanity and providing insightful, little-known details of her short life.

By Antonia Fraser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The national bestseller from the acclaimed author of The Wives of Henry VIII.  France’s beleaguered queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous “Let them eat cake,” was the subject of ridicule and curiosity even before her death; she has since been the object of debate and speculation and the fascination so often accorded tragic figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted, privileged, but otherwise unremarkable child was thrust into an unparalleled time and place, and was commanded by circumstance to play a significant role in history. Antonia Fraser’s lavish and engaging portrait of Marie Antoinette,…


Book cover of The Private Life of Marie Antoinette

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

I read the French edition of this book, and I found it most helpful as a reference for my own writing because Campan was close to Marie Antoinette as her servant and confidant. Moreover, Campan did not sugarcoat the queen’s life but rather offered an unbiased view of the queen's character.

Having read many current biographies of Marie Antoinette, I was thrilled to find Madam Campan’s because it was a unique and firsthand account of Marie Antoinette’s life at the court of Versailles. More importantly, Campan revealed why Marie Antoinette often behaved the way she did and debunked some of the scandals—some of which are still espoused today. In my opinion, Campan’s writing conveys sincerity and authenticity. On the other hand, some critics feel she is a bit biased.

By Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Private Life of Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In one of the earliest memoirs of the young Queen of France, Jeanne Louise Henriette Campan - Marie Antoinette's First Lady-in-Waiting and one of her closest and most faithful attendants - paints a dramatic portrait of the queen's personal and political relationship with King Louis XVI of France. First published in two volumes in 1823, this memoir is presented against the backdrop of the French court as it weakened in the madness of an impending revolution. In intricate detail, Campan passionately defends Marie Antoinette's pride and honour in the face of hateful propaganda against her - propaganda that has continued…


Book cover of Marie-Therese, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter

Will Bashor Author Of Marie Antoinette's Darkest Days: Prisoner No. 280 in the Conciergerie

From my list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Although the books on my list all delve into the history of Queen Marie Antoinette and her family, they also provide an understanding of the chaotic period leading up to the French Revolution. I’ve always been fascinated by the historical drama, controversy, and tragedy of her personal life, but the readings on my list also explore the social changes in manners, clothing styles, and class distinctions that accompanied the political unrest.

Will's book list on Marie Antoinette from a fan and a historian

Will Bashor Why did Will love this book?

Susan Nagel charted Marie-Thérèse's life during the turmoil of the French Revolution. The only survivor of the royal family locked in Temple Prison, despite the harrowing experience of her family’s demise and the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette’s daughter emerged as a remarkably strong figure in French history.

Marie-Thérèse journeyed from the horrors of the Temple prison and her family’s death to a dignified role at court when she married her cousin and the monarchy returned after the Revolution and Napoleon’s empire. I was amazed at how little I knew about Marie-Thérèse—she was even queen for 20 minutes when her husband reigned and abdicated!

By Susan Nagel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Marie-Therese, Child of Terror as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In December 1795, seventeen-year-old Marie-Therese, the only surviving child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, fled Paris's notorious Temple Prison. Kept in solitary confinement after her parents' brutal execution during the Terror, she had been unaware of the fate of her family, save the cries she heard of her young brother being tortured in an adjacent cell. She emerged to an uncertain future: an orphan, exile and focus of political plots and marriage schemes of the crowned heads of Europe. Susan Nagel tells a remarkable story of an astonishing woman whose life was shrouded in mystery, from her birth in…


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