10 Aug 2015


Proud to review books for Alma Books, I was delighted to receive notice of their new list of titles aimed at children and young adults and super excited to receive my copy of .....


BACK COVER BLURB: Célie Rosseau is a talented young artist who, along with her partner Algernon, resorts to petty thieving on the streets of Paris to survive. It is 1789: rumours of rebellion against the monarchy are starting to spread in the capital, and the two of them get involved in the idealistic revolutionary fervour. But when she is caught stealing from the brother of the King himself, Célie is saved only thanks to her drawing skills and the intercession of Marie Tussaud, the famous waxworks artist and a favourite at the French court, who decides to employ her.

Suddenly Célie finds herself whisked away from the tumult of Paris to the safety and opulence of Versailles. This raises a difficult moral dilemma for the young lady who had until recently dreamt of overthrowing the very people who now treat her with kindness: should see compromise her ideals and risk losing Algernon - whom she loves - or should she stay true to the cause of the poor and the revolution?

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter One - Paris, May 1789}: "Mon Dieu, I will kill you, you ruffians!"

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 220}: In order to obtain this food, I had to sell the silver brushes and the china swan I once stole from Manon. The cheese is mouldy, the fruit overripe and the bread several days old, but at least these women will eat a bit today.

SOURCE: Received for review from publishers, Alma Books from whom a copy can be obtained here.

MY THOUGHTS: A great historical read with some wonderfully strong female characters in the form of the feisty fifteen year old Célie and the fascinating Madame Tussaud which combined with some interesting themes (most of them still relevant today) - bereavement, poverty, the struggle between the heart and the head - and a hint of romance made this an exceptional read.

Because of some slightly gruesome descriptions of beheadings (after all this is set during the French Revolution when heads quite literally rolled) this is definitely one for young adults (as well as though of us who whilst not so young enjoy a good story) as opposed to children.  

Whilst there may be nothing too groundbreaking for connoisseurs of this genre/period in history I do think it a good introduction. The author doing a great job in expertly combining fact with fiction. The scenes just the right side of gruesome, gory enough to be realistic and yet not so gory as to be unsuitable for its intended market. 

For a story with so much scope my only complaint was that at 320 or so pages I felt this a relatively short read of which I'd love to see a sequel.


Brandi Kosiner said...

Hope you get your sequel for this one, sounds promising even if feels short

Kelly said...

This sounds good and, as a fan of Madame Tussaud's museums, I like that she's included as a character.

Sherry Ellis said...

320 pages a short read? It must've been a page turner! Hopefully there will be a sequel.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, it sounds as though there will be a sequel to this one. I enjoy historical fiction and feel sure I would like this.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy! I hadn't heard of it before, so thanks for the introduction! I am curious what the main character will decide to do about her moral dilemma. :)

Literary Feline said...

I wasn't sure at first when I saw "young artist" in the blurb you shared, but then when I got to the part about "thieving" I perked up. :-) This sounds like a fun read. A historical novel with "wonderfully strong female characters" is a sure plus for me. Thank you for bringing this title to my attention, Tracy.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh this sounds really interesting! I think I'd like this one, actually, and I feel like I should read more historical fiction. :)


Natasha Hill said...

I am definitely going to be looking out for this, I love the sound of this type of story - it sounds like pure escapism! - Tasha

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

You had me at strong female characters. I also love a book where 320 pages seems way too short. Sounds like something I would enjoy.

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds very good.

I like the moral dilemma of the main character being treated with kindness by royalty. This was such an interesting time and place.

Stories set during the French Revolution never cease to fascinate.