Tammy Burns's Reviews > The Pale Assassin

The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott
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Feb 20, 12

bookshelves: historical
Read from January 31 to February 18, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Eugénie de Boncoeur is the heroine in this story that is centered around the origins of the French Revolution. Eugénie is an orphan along with her brother Armand, who have been left in the care of a guardian. The guardian promises Le Fantôme, her deceased father's arch enemy and known as The Pale Assassin, that he shall marry Eugénie upon her sixteenth birthday. Unable to stop the wheels of fate, Armand continues his studies to become a lawyer, while Eugénie is sent to an abbey finishing school.

The unrest continues within Paris as the poor continue to become poorer. Robespierre with the help of Le Fantôme helps to inflame the people towards the clergy as well. Eugénie is the only girl left in the abbey when it is attacked by peasants. One of the nuns assists her in escaping the angry horde. Not very far from the destroyed abbey, Guy Deschamps, one of her brother's friends happens to be in the area and comes across Eugénie and offers her a ride to her brother. Eugénie finds herself attracted to the barrister.

Unable to send Eugénie to their guardian, and wanting to keep her away from Le Fantôme, Armand rents a room from her with a well-known seamstress, Belle, who has fallen on hard times because of the revolution and the exodus of Aristocrats from Paris. While living with Belle and the other tenants, Eugénie's eyes begin to open to the plights of the lower classes. She also becomes increasingly concerned about her brother's safety. While her brother, and his irritating friend Julien de Fortin, are supportive of a new constitution for France, they also are Royalists who see that the King and the constitution can work together.

Armand and Julien become suspicious of Guy, but Eugénie refuse to listen to their concerns seeing only that Guy is their friend and trustworthy. The situation becomes increasingly alarming as assassination attempts are made on both Julien and Armand. When the boy's rescue attempt of the King is foiled, they find their lives are truly in danger. The Queen passes Armand a note to save them and he finds it his personal mission to save the Queen and the children. Refusing to give up his plans, he sends Julien to escort Eugénie to England and their uncle under assumed names.

During the dangerous trip to Calais, they are chased the entire way. Along the way the two find out that friends are enemies and enemies are friends. The book ends with Armand being arrested and named as a traitor and Eugénie and Julien in the English Channel sailing towards England, having just escaped Le Fantôme, and declaring that they have feelings forever.

Grade: 7+
Genre: Historical
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