I picked this up used from my local bookstore. This is what the summary on the back said:
Two girls, united in a quest to save a young prince, but separated over two hundred years.
Andi lives in present-day New York and is dealing with the aftermath of her brother’s accidental death. Alexandrine lives in Paris and is desperately trying to save a young boy from the ravages of the French Revolution. Their paths collide as Andi unlocks a route to the past.
A romantic, utterly engrossing story of two girls, two boys and the heart-wrenching thread that binds them together across the centuries.
Bestselling, award-winning author Jennifer Donnelly has written an incredibly evocative portrait of loves torn apart by grief and mended by love.
That wasn’t what hooked me though. Underneath the summary is a review from the Sunday Telegraph:
“Donnelly captures period and place with almost supernatural skill, and even the most minor characters are so vivid that you find yourself talking out loud to them.”
Good thing that is what hooked me too, because the summary is totally misleading. It makes you think that Revolution is ultimately a love story, which I suppose it is, but not in the way it is being presented. Either way, I am glad I picked it up, because this book was incredible.
At first, you are taken a little aback. Our main character, Andi, is very abrasive. She is bitter and resentful and is generally messed up. We find out that her little brother, Truman, had been killed in some sort of accident, but Andi feels solely responsible for his death. It completely tears apart her already kind of breaking family, but more importantly tears Andi apart. She is borderline suicidal and is popping pills just to make it through the day.
The one thing that holds her together is music. She plays guitar and finds herself in her music and the music of those who have influenced her. She goes to this really high brow prep school, and is feeling the pressure to turn in a senior thesis that she just doesn’t want to do. She is facing expulsion and so her dad makes her go to Paris with him so she can work on it.
While in Paris, Andi becomes interested in the story of the ‘lost prince of France’. Louis-Charles was the youngest son of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI. After they were beheaded during the French Revolution Louis-Charles was kept prisoner in a tower until he goes goes mad and gets sick and dies at the age of 10. Or so the story goes.
While in Paris, Andi discovers a diary written by Alexandrine that might uncover more of the story that has remained untold. She might be able to help Alex, and in may even help herself.
Donnelly’s writing in this novel is perfection. Whoever wrote that review from the Sunday Telegraph was spot on. It is borderline spooky how well she captures the essence of revolutionary France. The contrast between the two narratives makes this story believable. She mixes facts in with fiction in a way that leaves you wanting to google absolutely everything about the royal family, fireworks, and Louis-Charles.
Don’t let the historical fiction aspect of it scare you, it is written smoothly and clearly. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves a well spun story, which should be everyone… right? 🙂
Find my favorite quotes from the book here!