Book review

My most recently read books are Trianon, and Madame Royale.
I have added them to my collection of works which are at my elbow. Here Marian T Horvat, presents us a review of Trianon.
These books are not for the faint hearted, nor are they for those who would wish to believe what they were indoctinated with in High School. While I was a confirmed monarchist long before I read this collection, I confirmed my leaning within the confines of these books. I will let Dr Horvat say more about Trianon. I can only say Elena Maria Vidal has brought forth the period, as well as the characters and made them live. I suppose that is the benefit of the historical novel. These were real people with real lives, who perservered even in catastrophe. These volumes are learning tools for the severly secularly educated. Madame Royale is the first historical novel I have ever read with a bibliography.

Unmasking the Formidable Myth
about Queen Marie Antoinette

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D.

Book-review on the work Trianon, A Novel of Royal France by Elena Maria Vidal
Long Prairie, MN: The Neumann Press, 2000, hardcover, 205 pp.

...A book was needed that would underscore Marie-Antoinette’s admirable qualities, so that the young people of the future would not imbibe the same prejudices against the French Monarchy swallowed unthinkingly by the generations before them.

A Book that Breaks the Myth

Recently I came across such a book that certainly will begin to fill this lacuna. Trianon is a short but compelling piece of historical fiction written by Elena Marie Vidal. In her preface, the author tells the readers that this is the story “of the martyred King Louis XVI and his Queen.

The fruit of years of research, the book attempts to correct many of the popular misconceptions of the royal couple, which secular and modern historians have tried so hard to promote. Louis and Antoinette can only be truly understood in view of the Catholic teachings to which they adhered and within the context of the Sacrament of Matrimony. It was the graces of this sacramental life that gave them the strength to remain loyal to the Church, and to each other, in the face of crushing disappointments, innumerable humiliations, personal and national tragedy, and death itself.”

Author Elena Vidal made use of a charming device to tell the true story. Each chapter is viewed through the eyes of one of the key players in the life of the Royal Family, e.g.:
Madame Louise, the Carmelite aunt of King Louis XVI who counseled the King to dedicate France to the Sacred Heart;
the King’s saintly youngest sister, Madame Elizabeth of France, who wanted to enter Carmel but remained at Court at her brother’s request to exert her good influence on the Queen and court;
the Irish confessor of the King, Abbé Edgeworth de Firmont, who was privileged to witness Louis XVI’s last moments. It was his voice that cried out after the blade fell: “Ascend to heaven, son of St. Louis!”
Rosalie, the young maid who served the Queen faithfully in her last days and reported the great courage and fidelity to the Faith of Marie-Antoinette: her refusal to accept confession from the revolutionary priest who had sworn the oath of the Civil Constitution, her calm and assured bearing to the end., when she was driven to her execution in an oxcart in the same manner of common criminals.

Finally, the author enters boldly into even the minds and imaginations of the King and Queen, whose human defects and frailties were purified, as gold by fire, by the humiliations and great trials they suffered at the hands of the revolutionaries. By the time of his trial and execution, King Louis XVI, a man who himself admitted he was scourged with weakness and irresolution, had assumed firm and courageous attitudes.
...more here...

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