Synopsis : BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.
PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.
Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.
Review : From the beginning I was intrigued by this book. I didn’t know exactly what to expect because I’ve never read any Jennifer Donnelly’s novels. Now I regret this fact because I really liked Revolution and I was pleasantly surprised by her writing style.
Andi was a smart girl, a talented musician, promised to a brilliant future. But the death of her younger brother, Truman, which occurred two years ago changed everything. Now Andi is a teenager who is at odds with herself. She still hasn’t recovered from the loss of her brother, and she feels guilty about it. Seeing that she’ll be expelled from school, her father, a world renowned geneticist, decides to take her with him to Paris. He must perform DNA analysis to determine if the heart found by the French researchers is the little Dauphin of France’s, Louis XVII, son of Marie Antoinette. Once there, they are hosted by Guillaume Lenotre, a passionate historian of the French Revolution, eighteenth-century and collector of objects of any kind from this period. In the midst of all this mess, Andi was immediately attracted by a beautiful guitar, also dating from this period. She quickly discovers that inside the guitar’s box there is a picture of the young Dauphin of France, Louis Charles and a diary, Alexandrine Paradis’diary.
Revolution is a novel that skillfully mixes past and present, real and fictional characters. This book is about 500 pages, it’s quite long but it’s readable very quickly. The chapters are short, the style is fluid, we’re easily carried away by the pen of Jennifer Donnelly. But what convinced me the most is how the author describes the feelings of her characters, especially those of Andi. In fact, her discomfort and suffering are described with such intensity that the reader is breathless.
We can see that this novel presents a lot of information. We can discover all the amount of researches for everything. The musical references are very present for classic and contemporary register. Jennifer Donnely was also very faithful to the historic events during the XVIII. We find a lot of stuff about the french revolution but also about a darker period which followed it : The Terror.
The author is also well documented about the actual french politic. We can see it by Virgil’s rhymes which mentions the unemployment, the hiring discrimination, the problems with the suburbs, the progress of the Front National, the Clichy-sous-Bois disturbances… I didn’t expect that at all. Even the name of the president Nicolas Sarkosy is cited.
To conclude, this book blows my mind away. It was really pleasant to read it. It’s a novel very captivating, with a wonderful writing style, I recommend it !