When Marie-Therese, daughter of Marie Antoinette, slips into the streets of Paris at the height of the French Revolution, she finds a world much darker than what she’s ever known.
When Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France learns of the powerful rebellion sweeping her country, the sheltered princess is determined to see the revolution for herself. Switching places with a chambermaid, the princess sneaks out of the safety of the royal palace and into the heart of a city in strife.
Soon the princess is brushing shoulders with revolutionaries and activists. One boy in particular, Henri, befriends her and has her questioning the only life she’s known. When the princess returns to the palace one night to find an angry mob storming its walls, she’s forced into hiding in Paris. Henri brings her to the workshop of one Mademoiselle Grosholtz, whose wax figures seem to bring the famous back from the dead, and who looks at Marie-Thérèse as if she can see all of her secrets. There, the princess quickly discovers there’s much more to the outside world – and to the mysterious woman’s wax figures – than meets the eye.
I’ve always been intrigued by the French revolution, so when I had the chance to read this novel, I was thrilled! Marie- Therese is the daughter of Marie Antionette who, after her home is mobbed and the rest of her family is captured, is sent into hiding…on the streets of Paris, the very city that wants her dead. The premise was interesting but unfortunately, the execution wasn’t as great as I had hoped.
When Marie-Therese is forced to flee from her family, she runs into a boy named Henri. She immediately decides to trust him, even though he is working for the rebels that are trying to kill her family. Is anyone else seeing the problem? Instead of running FAR away in the opposite direction, she stays with him and Mademoiselle Grosholtz. I just couldn’t really relate to Marie-Therese and she made a lot of selfish, immature decisions that left me thinking…WHAT?
And…insta-love. Marie-Therese has known Henri for merely a few days, and she is already thinking about what their life together would be like. Why? I didn’t understand the attraction, and I kind of wanted to skip over the scenes with Henri.
The magical elements in this story aren’t introduced until more than halfway through the book, but I didn’t think that magic was necessary at all. This book is *technically* historical fantasy, but it would have been much better as just a historical fiction novel. If anything, it would have made the ending a lot less…creepy.
One of the things I did like, though, was the detail and world-building in this novel. Suzanne Weyn really captured the nitty-gritty (emphasis on the gritty part!) details of the French revolution. The difference between the poverty of the streets, and the luxury of Versailles was well described. The imagery was a great part of this book.
Overall, this book really wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t enjoy it! If you’re willing to give this a try, or if you’ve read it, do let me know your thoughts!
Now a question for you: What is the last historical fiction novel you read?