Based on the incredible life story of the world’s most famous wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud.
Born Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Alsace but known as ‘Little’ in the novel for her diminutive size, Marie started out in the household of Dr Philippe Curtius in Berne, Switzerland . A physician skilled in creating anatomical wax models, it was Curtius who taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling and took her to pre-revolutionary France.
At the age of 17, Marie became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Elisabeth, at Versailles. During the French Revolution she was imprisoned and narrowly escaped execution. She cast the heads of many of those who were not so lucky… She married François Tussaud in 1795 and later moved to London, where she set up her world-famous waxworks museum.
Far from being a chamber of horrors, Edward Carey’s telling of Marie’s story is an affecting and exuberant Dickensian tale crossing countries and covering a tumultuous period in history, through the eyes of a cast of quirky and sympathetic characters. It is an unconventional love story, the tale of a woman’s rise to success against the odds, and a hymn to the strange beauty of the human body.