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 E.M. Vidal's Madame Royale 
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Post E.M. Vidal's Madame Royale
I thought I'd start a separate thread for Madame Royale as people have read it too.
I got Madame Royale on interlibrary loan from my university library and was excited to have it. I wanted to read about Therese's life after the French Revolution and get to know her beyond the historical record. I finished reading the book today and wasn't disappointed.
I really enjoyed reading Madame Royale. Therese had her moments of glory and triumph, others not so. Throughout the book, there was a theme of Catholic piety and devotion. I didn't think it detracted from the story. (The scene of the novice seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary was very prophetic) I thought it was fine, but it may not be to everyone's taste.
I didn't like some of the Bourbon princes in the story. They weren't effective leaders for France. While Therese didn't have a final resolution about her brother Louis, I was glad Vidal gave Therese peaceful and contented moments towards the end of her life.
I'm glad to have read Therese's story and that Vidal wrote her story.


Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:48 pm
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Good idea to start this thread since "Madame Royale" is a book worth being discussed in and of itself. I know that Rudy has read it, too, several times. It is one of the only novels about the era of the Bourbon Restoration ("The Count of Monte Cristo" is another) and the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. It deals with Marie-Therese's troubles with her relatives and her own search for the fate of her brother Louis XVII. The story covers not only what was going on in the political world but also in the arts, society, and culture.

The other heroine in "Madame Royale" who is a perfect foil for morose, haughty Therese is lovely, lively Caroline of Naples, the Duchesse of Berry. Both women are part Habsburg, very stubborn, and experience deep tragedy. However, Therese's experiences in the Temple did something to her. And she is always a Daughter of France, first, last and always. Caroline, on the other hand, has unquenchable zest and is willing to risk everything for love.

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Last edited by Therese on Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:26 am
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I love this book so much! My favorite chapter is "The Heroine"

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Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:36 am
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The chapter called "The Heroine" is one of my favorite chapters, too. It is when Therese dresses in uniform and goes with a small escort to try to rally the troops around Bordeaux to fight against Napoleon. Her courage was unflinching. Also, the scene where she says goodbye to Angouleme as he goes off to fight in the early morning is very moving because he kisses her and you think that maybe there is hope for them as a married couple.

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Tue Oct 10, 2006 1:43 am
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I once saw a painting of Marie Therese at Bordeaux, it was awesome!

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Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:44 am
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Yes, that is a beautiful scene described in the novel. That painting is on one of the Madame Royale sites. She is escaping from Napoleon and giving the feathers from her hat to the people as souvenirs. She said, "Marie-Therese will not forget her friends in Bordeaux" or something like that.

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Thu Oct 12, 2006 2:19 pm
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Yes! Which is true cause she seemed to remember every face she saw...

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Fri Oct 13, 2006 1:01 am
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Oh, I forgot about that - the old royal training where they were taught to match names with faces. I believe that was mentioned at the Prince of Wales' garden party, where Therese runs into her cousin Louis-Philippe. Rudy, do you think that in the novel Therese is attracted to Louis-Philippe, in spite of herself?

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Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:39 pm
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I think overall the idea is appalling to her, but I sometimes feel like Marie Therese wanted to be happy and I think the idea of having husband more like Louis Phillippe....seemed endearing to her! I think her marriage to Angouleme only made things wose for her you know?

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Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:12 pm
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Yes, I totally agree with you. I think she was attracted to Louis-Philippe as a virile man who was a devoted husband and the father of a growing family - - all the things that she had missed by marrying Angouleme. Some people say that her marriage to Angouleme did as much psychological damage to her as everything she went through in the Revolution. What do you think?

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Fri Oct 13, 2006 10:36 pm
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Really? I wouldn't think so cause I believe her and Angouleme had their happy moments. It was a marriage of duty for her. Or so it seems to me. SO I think it was just a marriage of disappointment. I would hope it wouldnt scar her further....

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Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:14 am
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Yes, I think it started out as a difficult marriage but she made what she could out of it and it became a deep bond. Such as the scene right before his death when they really seemed to spiritually merge and find peace together.

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Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:39 am
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Or so we hope so for both of their sakes. Its such an unhappy predicament.

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I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long.


Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:49 am
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Some of the stronger scenes in the novel are the encounters between Therese and Angouleme, especially the scene when he tries to stop her from slipping out incognito to interview Madame Simon about what happened to Charles at the Temple.

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Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:00 pm
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I agree I found it troubling that Provence, Angouleme, etc could think of denying Marie Therese the right to find out what exactly happened to her little brother.

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I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long.


Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:10 am
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