Friday, September 16, 2011

Beginning ~ on an island

Abundance : A Novel of Marie Antoinette ~ by Sena Jeter Naslund, 2006
Like everyone, I am born naked.

I do not refer to my actual birth, mercifully hidden in the silk folds of memory, but to my birth as a citizen of France — citoyenne, they would say.  Having shed all my clothing, I stand in a room on an island in the middle of the Rhine River — naked.  My bare feet occupy for this moment a spot considered to be neutral between beloved Austria and France.  The sky blue silk of my discarded skirt wreathes my ankles, and I fancy I am standing barefooted in a puddle of pretty water.
As I've already told you, I'm interested in Marie Antoinette.  I think this is a fascinating beginning, that she must be "born again" as a French woman to be acceptable.  I already know she had to change her name from the Austrian Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna to the French Marie Antoinette.  What must it feel like to start all over at age 14?  Hmm, probably pretty much like getting married felt to me when I was 18, though mine was not a political match.  Back in 1959, I didn't know anyone who kept her "maiden" name, so I also went through a name change, when my last name became Jacobs.

This meme is hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages. Share the first sentence or two of the book you are reading. Then, share your impressions of that beginning. Click this link to see what others say about the books they are reading this week.


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

What vivid lines! I can literally "see" what is happening here, which I always enjoy in a book. Thanks for sharing.


Nic said...

What an extraordinary image. As you say, I can't imagine what it must have been like to go through something like that at such a young age... Fascinating lady!

Katy said...

I haven't read much about Marie Antoinette, so I learned quite a bit from your post today. Very interesting!

Thanks for participating in Book Beginnings!

Anonymous said...

Good beginning, paints a very vivid picture.

Helen's Book Blog said...

I have Tousseaud sitting on my TBR shelf and believe it is also about Marie Antoinette. I have heard good things about it, I just have to get myself to read it!

Buried In Print said...

Sinking into this novel was quite the reading experience: I hope you enjoy it too!