Summary: Andi lives in New York and is dealing with the emotional turmoil of her younger brother’s accidental death. Alex lives in Paris and is a companion to the dauphin, the young son of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, during the violent days of the French Revolution. When Andi is sent to Paris to get her out of the trouble she’s so easily enveloped by in New York, their two stories collide, and Andi finds a way to reconcile herself not only to her past but also to her future. This is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful, evocative portrait of lives torn apart by grief and mended by love.
Published by: Bloomsbury
Review: The cover of this book instantly caught my attention and I’ve always loved history so when I read that it had something to do with the French Revolution I was happy to pick it up. However it did take me a couple years to start reading it as I tend to buy books and forget about them on the shelves (this was on quite a high shelf so I couldn’t see it)
In the beginning we see a girl, Andi, that’s given up on life to the point of almost committing suicide and no it’s not just about suicide it’s not one of those books as I know a few people who instantly turn down a book when they hear that subject. Jennifer Donnelly deals with the sensitive issue brilliantly as a way to get across Andi’s desperation and hopelessness.
Andi takes a bit to warm up to as a character to some people as she is self centred and has given up but once you see why she acts the way she does you begin to empathise with her. We are introduced slowly to what happened to her brother throughout the book which adds suspense to it and we see the ramifications this had on her parents.
Alex is the girl in the diary and I had a lot of different theories on how she fit into Andi’s current situation. Like maybe they are related or maybe Alex changed her name and became Amade Malherbeau (you will understand when you read the book) but I was dead wrong. The way Jennifer Donnelly has managed to thread these two lives together is amazing taking tragedy and common loss and making Andi realise she can let go of her brother, she doesn’t have to lose her life as well.
I have to admit the ending kinda weirded me out just by the fact the book seemed so realistic but then the flashback/time travel/concussion induced hallucination that was a bit weird but again Donnelly managed to make it relevant and stick to the main story. It gives the reader an insight into both lives and gives Andi closure even if it wasn’t real.
I would recommend this book to anyone as it has lots of different aspects desired in a book.