In 1789, with the starving French people on the brink of revolution, orphaned Celie Rosseau, an amazing artist and a very clever thief, runs wild with her protector, Algernon, trying to join the idealistic freedom fighters of Paris. But when she is caught stealing from none other than the king's brother and the lady from the waxworks, Celie must use her drawing talent to buy her own freedom or die for her crimes. Forced to work for Madame Tussaud inside the opulent walls that surround Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Celie is shocked to find that the very people she imagined to be monsters actually treat her with kindness. But the thunder of revolution still rolls outside the gates, and Celie is torn between the cause of the poor and the safety of the rich. When the moment of truth arrives, will she turn on Madame Tussaud or betray the boy she loves? From the hidden garrets of the starving poor to the jeweled halls of Versailles, Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is a sweeping story of danger, intrigue, and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history.
Madame Tussaud's ApprenticeFeatured
I found Celie's internal dialogue to be slightly annoying and juvenile at times, but throughout the course of the book, as she sees into the heart of the royal family and befriends Madame Tussaud, she grows and changes just as I would hope a teen character to do, especially after going through such gory and terrible things as Celie does. I appreciated how the "Untold Story of Love" turned out to be what I didn't expect, as I thought the romantic love she has for Algernon throughout the book fell flat, and began to wonder what she saw in him after a time. Things turn out better than one would hope for them, but Algernon did not appeal to me much. The other characters, however, were much more vibrant and layered, and the relationships she develops with them are touching and unexpected.
I found the world-building to be pretty good at times, and at other times, it just did not do justice to the place being described. One main example I can remember is that the description of the mirrored hall at Versailles was very poorly done; it seemed as though the author occasionally wanted to get to a certain part in her story instead of taking the time to set the scene, or using the grandeur of her character's location to her advantage to add to the wholeness of the story.
If you like historical fiction, this is an interesting read, but unless you are interested in France (as I definitely am!), it may not be your cup of tea. I think this book would be an excellent supplement to any studying a person may be involved in about the French Revolution, as it definitely enlivens the facts and subsequently could help with retention.