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Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2007 (Vol. 75, No. 9))
A lively historical novel about a young lacemaker at Versailles just before the French Revolution. Eleven-year-old Isabelle makes lace like her mother and grandmother. Bringing lace to the palace at Versailles allows her to be seen by the beautiful Queen, Marie Antoinette, who invites her to become companion to the queen's daughter Thérèse. Isabelle then lives a split existence, frantically making lace with her struggling family in the mornings and then dressed in fine clothes and spending the afternoon with Thérèse and her companion, Ernestine. Isabelle's brother George works in the Marquis de Lafayette's stables; he tries to open Isabelle's eyes to the desperate state of the populace; Isabelle, in turn, tries to explain to Thérèse that not everyone lives like a princess. The excesses (and odors) of the French court are seen through Isabelle's perceptions in this first-person narrative full of description and intriguing insight into the period. Endnotes explain that Ernestine actually did live at Versailles as companion to Thèrése, though many of the other characters in the story are fictitious. Fascinating. 2007, McElderry, 208p, $16.99. Category: Historical fiction. Ages 10 to 14. © 2007 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Ann Bullion-Mears (The Lorgnette - Heart of Texas Reviews (Vol. 20, No. 1))
The year is 1788; the place is the Versailles Palace in France. Imagine an eleven-year-old working class girl, a lacemaker, who becomes a playmate and friend to the nine-year-old Princess Royal, the daughter of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, and you have the premise for Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s THE LACEMAKER AND THE PRINCESS. As fantastic as it sounds, the story is based on a similar historic friendship. Bradley uses this friendship to investigate the rights and wrongs of the French political situation just before and during the first years of the French Revolution. Isabelle, the young lacemaker, lives a life constantly on the edge of hunger and privation, while Princess Therese has almost anything she could want. Isabelle sees the soft side of Marie Antoinette and has trouble reconciling the woman she knows with the villainess of popular imagination. The story is replete with details of life in 18th century France, both royal and working class. Bradley conveys an understanding of both sides of what becomes a regicidal encounter as she shows how Isabelle is torn between the needs of her family and her fears for her friends. The historical figures are presented as human beings with strengths and weaknesses. As the story ends, Bradley clearly depicts the radical changes in Isabelle’s life. In the concluding Author’s Note, Bradley discusses the historical and fictional aspects of the story and traces the lifespan of most of the book’s historical figures. Fiction. Grades 6-8. 2007, McElderry Books, 199p., $16.99. Ages 11 to 14.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.B7247 Lac 2007
9781428746732 (BWI bdg.)
1428746730 (BWI bdg.)