Cassi aka Snow White Haggard's Reviews > The Académie

The Académie by Susanne Dunlap
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's review
Mar 25, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: galleys, read-in-2012, yay-history
Read from March 25 to April 03, 2012

The Académie is a historical novel set in Paris right after the French Revolution. It's a re-imagined history, intentionally fudging dates and ages, to put Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter of Josephine), Carolyn Bonaparte (sister of Napoleon) and Eliza Monroe (daughter of James Monroe) at L'Académie Nationale a SaintGermain at the same time. It's a fun little book set against the backdrop of a struggling France.

Eliza is naive and young, but it's more endearing than obnoxious. Carolyn is cunning and bold, much like her famous brother, Hortense is caring and careful. They make quite the trio.

Their mischievous adventures takes them from school to Malmaison to Saint Cloud where they disguise themselves as soldiers to obverse some of the biggest moments in the history of France.

For me this book felt a little more juvenile than I expected. All of the romance was underdeveloped (with Eliza it actually made sense given her age). It hit on some of my romantic pet peeves, such as characters being able to read LOTS into other characters eyes. I know sometimes in the past conversations between boys and girls was not easy, but having eye conversations seems like a cheaters way to create romantic tension. Despite the dash of insta-love, the book later addressed that in an unusually self-aware move.

While I do not enthusiastically love this book, I did enjoy reading it. I think this is best for the younger spectrum of the YA audience or people particularly enthusiastic for French history. What I liked most about this novel was the historical backdrop, even if the ages of the main characters were modified, because I found the schoolgirls perspective on changing France to be interesting.

The authors note might be my favorite part because I had no idea that a real friendship between Hortense and Eliza Monroe existed. I love the fact that the author took that little snippet of history and wrote an entire book based up on it.
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Reading Progress

18.0% ""Something about him touches my soul" Well I certainly hope he washed his hands first. (UGH on the soul touching. Let's keep this g-rated peeps or just not that cheesy)"
24.0% "People in books always see A LOT more in other people's eyes than I do. Am I doing it wrong?" 2 comments
75.0% "This book seems young but enjoyable."
78.0% "Am beginning to question Madeleine's motivations. Of course I get huffy whenever anybody calls someone else inferior (even if only in singing)"
82.0% "Blah blah blah you're in love with the music masters son blah blah. You've met him like what? Twice? He lets his sister make his decisions? Eh, better off without him"
86.0% "I cannot decide if Eliza's youthful naivete is frustrating or endearing. I'm leaning towards endearing if I'm completely honest."

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