Laura's Reviews > The Académie

The Académie by Susanne Dunlap
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's review
Mar 12, 12

bookshelves: read-in-2012
Read from February 28 to March 05, 2012

The Academie was an interesting book. I'm somewhat of a Francophile in that I love Paris, French cooking and the history of France. I'm a general lover of history, too, which meant that I was all over this title when it was released on NetGalley.

All in all, I thought this book was good. Better than okay, but I won't go all the way to great. I kept waiting for a huge thing to happen, and when the climax happened, I ultimately felt it was, well, anticlimactic.

Academie tells the story of four young girls in France in 1799. Eliza Monroe, daughter of not yet President Monroe, Caroline Bonaparte, sister to Napoleon himself, Hortense, daughter of Josephine and step daughter to Napoleon, and finally, Madeleine, daughter of a stage actress.

I have a hard time with characters who are overly stuck up and snotty. I love character growth and development, and understand that we need to see where characters start before we see how they end up. That being said, all of the main characters at one time or another really grated on my nerves. Caroline was petty and rude. Hortense played the martyr one too many times. Eliza didn't treat people right. And Madeleine used people to get what she wanted, just like her mother. In the end, it all worked out, and everyone grew up.

The French history lesson was so fascinating. I honestly had to go back and look up some of the people mentioned so I could remember their roles in the French government. I also had to re-read some of what had been written about some of the people involved- mainly Josephine. I had honestly forgotten the animosity between her in-laws and herself. The author did a fantastic job with research; I'm not sure that I ever knew what problems she had with her teeth. The level of detail that the author managed to put into the novel was quite impressive.

The Academie was a good book for anyone who loves French history or boarding school drama. An interesting read, one that I enjoyed.

I received an e-galley courtesy of Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley. This in no way impacted my review of the book.

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Reading Progress

02/28/2012 page 110

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