Friday, June 29, 2012

The Academie by Susanne Dunlap

|Edition: Hardcover, 368 pages|Publisher: Bloomsbury|
|Release Date: February 2012|
|Genre: Historical fiction, 1800s, Napoleonic War, romance|
|Other Books: The Musician's Daughter, Anastasia's Secret, and In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap; Dancing Through Fire by Kathryn Lasky|
|Overall Rating: 5/5|

Eliza Monroe-daughter of the future president of the United States-is devastated when her mother decides to send her to boarding school outside of Paris. But the young American teen is quickly reconciled to the idea when-ooh, la-la!-she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn't take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies-and that she's about to get caught in the middle of their schemes.
Loosely drawn from history, Eliza Monroe's imagined coming of age provides a scintillating glimpse into the lives, loves, and hopes of three young  during one of the most volatile periods in French history.

Yet another tale of daring adventure, love, and history is spun by Dunlap, the author of The Musician's Daughter and In the Shadow of the Lamp. Set in the backdrop of a glamourous but uneasy time in French history, our four heroines will–all in a few short months–endure great adventure, scandal, danger, and love. Only some will survive.
A fan of Dunlap's since her first novel for young adults, The Academie is of course, no surprise, a favorite. Taking once again a unique, but exciting bit a of history and combining it with historically correct characters, you get a lovely fictionalized retelling. Sharing the spotlight with not one, not two, but three young girls' perspectives was a genius way of summing up a complicated, and sometimes two-faced story. Despite it skipping sometimes between two very different events, the book is very unified. Dunlap has pulled off the threesome nicely. The Academie  seemed to be a smoother read as well. In some of her other novels, specific plot climaxes were at times far between but with this one, everything flowed into one big finale!
I would have never thought to have included an American character among the daughters of the elite Frenchmen. Although taking place before the Monroes were White House material, James Monroe (more commonly known as just "President Monroe") was an important figure-head in both the American and French Revolutions. 
Of the two French girls–Hortense was my favorite. She is the quiet thinker of the foursome, she is also the most hesitant. Though wise beyond her years, Hortense must make a risky choice. One that may require her to make a terrible sacrifice. On the other hand, Madeline is the wild card. She pops up now and then but readers will not know how to place her until the final card is played. Love will spare no one! Dunlap will leave readers vying destiny of each girl with every twist and turn.

Overall, The Academie is Dunlap's best yet. There is a nice selection to chose from on Napoleonic literature but Dunlap's will be a favorite. Highly recommend to faithful fans, historical fiction lovers, and anyone else who may be intrigued. Ages 13+

Content Awareness
Some violence and some mild sexual references/sensuality. (PG)

1 comment:

Krystianna said...

Lately, I've been hearing many good reviews for this one. I'm going to have to check it out!

Thanks for the great review!

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