Bonjour mon amour!! Today, we’re gonna talk about Marie Antoinette but through the lens of Black Mirror. “What book is this,” you say?…why Cake Eater, of course! For this post, our song is going to be “17” by Sky Ferreira. This song is only available on Youtube and Pandora, so no link today, sadly.
Cake Eater is a fun book to read, but it does come with some content warnings: alcohol consumption, mention of vaping, death of character(s), politics/political talk, and others.
She has a million followers on social media.
She uses her fashion-forward eye to pick the perfect angle and filter on every photo.
She’s a trend-setter.
She’s Marie Antoinette, the year is 3070, and she’s arrived in the Franc Kingdom to marry the prince, secure an alliance, and rake in likes from her fans.
Versailles is not the perfect palace Marie’s seen on The Apps. Her life is a maze of pointless rules, and the court watches her every move for mistakes. Her shy husband Louis is more interested in horses and computer-hacking than producing heirs. Versailles seems like a dream full of neon-lit statues, handsome android soldiers, and parties till dawn. Under the surface, it’s a creepy den of secrets: surveillance in Marie’s bedroom, censored news feeds, disappearing courtiers.
When Marie and Louis become king and queen long before they’re ready to rule, any efforts to aid their suffering subjects are stamped out by the mega-corporations of the First Estate. Between riots in Paris and image-wrecking social media firestorms, Marie can’t afford to lose her head. Using her social media savvy and Louis’ hacking knowledge, they try to fix their reputations and change their kingdom for the better, but the royals may find it’s already too late. They’re ruling over the end of an era.Synopsis from Goodreads
So, first things first, a little history lesson. Marie Antoinette was a real person…she lived in the mid-century 1700’s. Marie Antoinette was born in Austria as Maria Antonia to Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I.
Marie (her name is great, but its long) was the next-to-last child of the pair and their youngest daughter. At the age of 14, Marie was shipped off to France to marry her husband the Dauphin (prince) Louis-Auguste. He was 15 at the time. Their reign was quite tumultuous and ended in their decapitation.
If you, like me, are a budding Francophile and want to learn more about Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola (yes, her dad is F.F. Coppola) directed an amazing film starring Kirsten Dunst & Jason Schwartzmann called (ha ha) Marie Antoinette! The costuming in this film won an Academy Award in 2006.
Now that we’re all a bit more familiar with who Marie was, lets talk about who she is, at least in this book. Our Marie is an influencer. She has thousands of followers on the Apps and in her home country of The Austrolands is looked at as a fashion maven. The people love her and the clothes she wears. But then things change.
Upon her arrival to her new home, Marie learns that everything is not what it seems on the Apps. The Franc people don’t like her. Her fashions aren’t well received. The citizens think she’s being frivolous with their money. Her and Louis-Auguste haven’t yet consummated their marriage so there’s no guarantee for a future monarch.
In the world of Cake Eater, the online masses really are ruling the population. Androids are starting to pop up everywhere, including the palace as personal security to the crown…and rumors are flying that Marie is having an affair with one!
Allyson Dahlin grew up on a farm in central New York, where she had little to do but read loads of library books and make up magical and slightly creepy stories about the woods and farm animals while pretending to be a witch/homesteader. She studied psychology in college while working as a housekeeper at a motel in Cooperstown. That job involved a lot of boring hours to think up backstories for the guests whose rooms she cleaned. A shawl left on a chair by an aging opera soprano, a stack of old baseball cards left by a Hall of Fame inductee, and the legend of a monster in the lake were all fodder for stories. It was during that time she transformed from a reader and a daydreamer to a writer.
With some writing courses and a psychology certification in hand, Allyson worked in school counseling and then at a boarding school for girls with complex trauma. Writing kept her spirits up during her intensely emotional work. Eventually, she fell into internet marketing, which meant writing for her day job as well as focusing on her novels. Her first novel, Cake Eater, was inspired by a trip to Versailles and the realization that the circumstances of Marie Antoinette’s life could just as easily happen today.
To keep up with Allyson and her writing, visit her website at https://allysondahlin.com.
Cake Eater releases August 9th from HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins Publishing I was graciously provided my ARC from the author, Allyson herself (!!) in exchange for an honest review. Having received these materials in no way has altered my opinion of this work. To purchase a copy of Cake Eater for yourself, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link, or visit your preferred retailer.