Saturday, May 7, 2016
At 18, Andi Alpers has lost her will to live. Her brother Truman has died, her father has deserted the family and is putting her mother in a mental hospital. In Paris, where her father is working on a project on King Louis-Charles, Andi vows to make their three-week visit a misery. But when she finds a journal that might hold the missing key to Louis-Charles history, she completely forgets about everything, including her senior thesis, and focuses instead on solving the mystery of his death.
Rewind to the 18th century, where King Louis-Charles is imprisoned after his father and mother - Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette - were put on trial and guillotined. Alexandrine Paradis has been charged with his entertainment and hopes to be rewarded for her efforts with a place on the Paris stage. She grows to love him as a brother and begins a journal recounting her actions so that someone might find it and uncover the truth about how the young King was treated. When Andi happens upon the journal, she becomes completely entranced with Alex's story and hopes desperately for a happy ending.
Jennifer Donnelly's fictional work is very well researched and written, although I had trouble feeling empathetic toward Andi. The subject of life and death for both Andi and Alex is very delicately intertwined and Revolution is an example of how history can influence the future. I prefer less teenage angst, and the journal is what kept me reading this long book. We do own some of the books from Donnelly's bibliography such as Olivier Blanc's Last Letters: Prisons and Prisoners of the French Revolution and Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution: A History, which I recommend reading alongside this book.