While staying in an inn, Sena Jeter Naslund found a biography of Marie Antoinette. Then the idea of writing a novel based on the life and death of the French queen came to her mind. However, the author was really interested in showing a more humane side of Marie Antoinette as for the readers to have the opportunity to know a more complex character and not only the one that has often been known, as someone who was purely superficial.
To achieve that, Jeter spent a lot of time researching and reading several biographies of Marie Antoinette. Then she traveled to Europe and spend a good deal of time visiting the places that were important in the life of the queen who was born in Austria and then spent most of her life living in Versailles and Paris.
All this work allowed her to get to know Marie Antoinette, her life, her favorite things, her hobbies, her worries, her hopes and dreams, and how she went from being an enthusiastic girl who married the futuro king of France when they both were really young, and was eager to please the people of France, to being the queen of a country that was changing and that found on the destitution of the royal family a symbol of that change.
Jeter was able to reproduce in great detail all this in her novel Abundance, a novel of Marie Anotinette in which she shows how a girl who was born to being a princess and become a queen, had to face a life that she hadn’t expected, which ended later on at the guillotine.
As the book is written in first person, all the story is told by Marie Antoinette hereself which makes the reader feel really inside of the story.
As the end of the novel approches, it’s hard not to wonder how the author will manage to present the last minutes on Marie Antoinette’s life, as the story is told by herself.
In the end, Jeter works it out very gracefully, and the idea of having known Marie Antoinette as a person beyond the crown lingers for a long while.