Review of Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution

My studies of European history this year have lead me to update my review of Michelle Moran’s book. Here’s my full review:

Filled with historical details, some lovely (a lot of fashion info), some so gruesome I had to skip forward, Michelle Moran paints a picture of the strong willed, independent Mary, who later becomes Madame Tussaud. I felt the history angle was much stronger then the characterization. The reason I gave it 3 stars instead of 2 is because of the undeniable fact that I now know so much more about the French Revolution than I learned from high school history classes and historical movies. Fiction places you in the thick of things and carves indelible images into your memory. Unfortunately, most of the memories of this book will be really horrible and disgusting.

I am now studying European history, and the more I study about the French Revolution, the angrier I get at Michelle Moran. She depicts the royal family as ignorant of the awful life conditions of the third estate – those who have no title nor belong to the clergy. After generations of “taxation in advance” – a scheme started by Louis XIV – the people have been driven to poverty and starvation. The picture Ms. Moran paints of current kind Louis XVI is of a monarch who was not aware of his people’s deplorable conditions, even though everyone else knew, including his charitable sister who helped the poor. Supposedly, no one dared to tell him nor Mary Antoinette the truth. I think it impossible for live in a palace made of gold and never ever see the truth when one ventures outside (even with a closed carriage, etc.). And if the king was really so obtuse, then he should have been portrayed as an idiot, nor a poor victim. And he must have been stupid to let himself be caught and beheaded.
OK – rant over. I’m sure Michelle would be happy to know her book is “in my head.”

Madam Tussaud

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

The moment it was over, I wanted to read it again – and that doesn’t happen often!

Georgette Heyer accidentally created a Sub-Genre (the Regency Romance) when she wrote this book , which is why I had to read it. What a fun, witty, and comical adventure! The hero was brilliant and sophisticated; the heroine resourceful and naive. As each of them tires of their respective families’ matchmaking, they – gasp! – run away together! This impropriety is masked by Penelope’s manly attire, and let the adventure begin!

Creating a Sub-Genre by Accident: Georgette Heyer’s The Corinthian


Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This memoir offers a window into a conflicted, depressed soul. We then accompany the writer as she regains the simple joys of life in Italy, finds inner peace through lots of praying and soul searching in India, and finds love again in Bali.

Many people deal with similar problems to some degree and could use a journey of their own to grow up and find themselves and what makes them happy. And even though Elizabeth Gilbert believes she’s found her God, which helps her be one with her inner peace, if you read the book carefully you plainly see *she* was the instrument that brought about her own happiness — which, she also admits, is our reason for being — with which I wholeheartedly agree.

In Travel Secrets, the heroine is also shaped by her travels, but with one main difference: While Elizabeth Gilbert looked to God to find herself, Rachel Moore looks inside herself for the answers.

I must add that I’m saddened to see all the super negative, sometimes hateful reviews of this book. If Elizabeth Gilbert did one thing it is to bare her soul to the world, which is a brave act that really shouldn’t merit such hatred.


Travel Writer’s Carnival

The parade in which my heroine participates in Travel Secrets is based on a real procession. If you have ever wished to understand the Brazilian carnival better, my novel will help you understand many of the details and nuances that go into these lavish parades.

Here’s a link to parade, shared and written about with Vai Vai Samba school’s permission: “Women Who Shine,” Vai Vai 2012

Victory over IBS

I’ve suffered from Irritable Bowl Syndrome for years. The doctors mostly shrug and call it “nervous stomach.” But then I found a naturopath who took me off gluten, saying it has eroded the lining of my gut all this time. This scared me straight, and I’ve given up on all products containing wheat a few years ago. How do I stick with it? That’s simple enough: It took away my IBS and with it, my constant need and dependency on having a bathroom nearby.

But more than that, he opened my eyes to the vitally important connection of what we eat and the way we feel. As a result, I’m eating almost exclusively whole foods today. It was a learning curve, no doubt, but absolutely worth it.

With so many of us sick, depressed, or unable to sleep, the connection with food is practically glaring. This post is too short to convince anyone, but I hope it would make you curious to learn more, and also more accepting to people who choose to eat more healthfully. I cringe every time I hear anyone on TV making fun of gluten allergies, because such stupidity might discourage someone who’s struggling from making a real change in their lives. So please keep your mind open.

Please follow my blog, because there’s more to come!




The Style of A Different Culture

I see and read about so many women who love each other, yet still tease one another incessantly. Such is Rachel’s relationship with her two American besties, Jess and Ashley. She knows they’re just kiddin’ around, but bullying is also the norm in her life.

That is not the case in Brazil. There, Rachel is constantly showered with love and admiration. For the first time in her life, she is envied for her “big” butt, and her initiative is admired. No longer surrounded by negativity, she begins to wonder why was it ever there in the first place, and whether or not she can change the status quo when she goes back to New York.

I hope you enjoy seeing what happens when I drop Rachel into the culture of Rio de Janeiro, and later into Paris and Bordeaux, and then she finally returns N.Y. The style of these different cultures is like a smell of a perfume: some are enchanting, some sickly sweet, but they’re always absolutely unique.