Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
I held a fascination for Marie Antoinette ever since I learned her head was chopped off in a kid-friendly biography in third grade. The guillotine sparked my love for travel — a fact I often lie about when people ask. I wanted to see the palace of Versailles and 17th century methods of capital punishment.
When away on vacation, I would march to the history section in the nearest library. I’m sure the librarians in the places we visited had quizzical looks on their faces as my 10-year-old self placed the 512 page biography, Marie Antoinette: The Journey on the checkout counter. Not only is the text required reading for Advanced Placement European History classes, but Marie Antoinette also isn’t the best role model for impressionable girls. Not that I cared. Courtney Love was also on my list of heroes and Antonia Fraser was my favorite historian, obviously.
While we drove through the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, I’d ignore the scenery and flip the pages, learning about the philosophy of Voltaire and the Habsburg Dynasty. My sister read Nancy Drew…sometimes.
My teacher eventually told me I could no longer write my weekly book reports on French monarchs, and kindly showed me to the fantasy fiction section. I’m fairly certain I didn’t do that assignment.