An angry, grieving seventeen-year-old musician facing expulsion from her prestigious Brooklyn private school travels to Paris to complete a school assignment and uncovers a diary written during the French revolution by a young actress attempting to help a tortured, imprisoned little boy--Louis Charles, the lost king of France.
“Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly, is a well crafted and thoughtful book. The storyline is not new: a girl finds a lost journal and learns both about history and about herself. Andi, the protagonist, is struggling to keep her depression over her brother’s death under control. When her home life spirals out of her control, Andi, goes to Paris with her estranged father. There, she explores the streets of Paris and reads a diary of a young Parisian player. Alexandrine, an aspiring actress becomes the companion of the doomed prince of France, the young Dauphin son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. Donnelly weaves these two stories together with skill and care, each girl becomes real in her struggle against the evil they face. For the one it is her personal demons threatening to tear her apart. For the other it is the evils unleashed by the Terror which sent thousands to the guillotine.
Some of the journal entries from the French Revolution are a bit too contemporary in style and content. Unless you are a history purist, though, this will not slow your reading as you dive into this engaging and thoughtful book. Music, history, a bit of romance and the heartache of loss are all elements of this story. Donnelly presents her moral like an unexpected and wonderful piece of chocolate: a thing to be savored, treasured and which will linger long after you close the book.
-- by Mollie H.