SuperRIFer Mary Jo on Michelle Moran’s Novel Madame Tussaud

I didn’t know much about Madame Tussaud, or French history for that matter, before reading Madame Tussaud. And if you asked me if I wanted to read a book about the two, I’d probably say, “no, thanks anyway.” But this book was given to me and I felt compelled to read it.

I am so glad I did! It was the best book I read in 2011!

The story revolves around Madame Tussaud as a young woman practicing her art of crafting wax models with her uncle. She is portrayed as very serious about her art and about the business she and her uncle run.

However, as the French Revolution begins, and she becomes involved on both sides of the battle, we start to see other sides of her as well. She is asked to tutor the King’s sister in wax modeling at Versailles and sees another side of royal life that most commoners don’t see and her heart softens for them.

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Back at home, she is surrounded by those who want to overthrow the king and queen and finds she must walk the line between the two sides in order to stay safe. Meanwhile, she also starts to fall in love with her neighbor.

As readers, we learn much about Madame Tussaud (before she was known as such), as well as the French Revolution. The writing is so good that I felt like I was in Paris, experiencing the events firsthand for myself. Michelle Moran slipped in so much historical information that it didn’t feel like I was learning as I read – but, of course, I was.

Moran not only drew us to a woman, but also, to a country. The second half of the book flew by, and each night I couldn’t wait to jump into bed and open the book to read a few more chapters before sleep.

I think it’s the mark of a true writer when, after reading one of her books, a reader looks up more by the same author. That is exactly what I did. I am a new Moran fan and recommend this book to everyone!

Madame Tussaud is available in paperback wherever books are sold. Read a fun piece by editor Heather Lazare on visiting Madame Tussaud’s. Visit Michelle Moran online at

SuperRIFer MARY JO WYSE is a former English teacher and now a stay-at-home mom to two. She has published essays and stories, most recently in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

She also enjoys sewing and crafting and blogs about her creations at

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About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • Rebecca Macchione

    Yes, exactly what she said. I flew through Madame Tussaud, fascinated by the story and the French history lesson. So many very familiar historical characters. Now I am happily devouring Cleopatra’s Daughter and look forward to the rest of Michelle Moran’s books!

  • A Washington

    This was a GREAT read!!

  • Emma @ Words And Peace

    Madame Tussaud is the work of a genius. I enjoyed it very much and chose it as my best historical fiction for 2011. See my enthusiastic review here:

  • Anna

    I’m wondering how to receive a copy of this book. My sister told me about this site and I’m just like YAY! but I can’t seem to figure out how to try and get a copy. Thanks

  • Larisa

    I can see that a lot of research has been put into this book.

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