Title Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice
Author Kathleen Benner Duble
Description from Amazon
In 1789, with the starving French people on the brink of revolution, orphaned Celie Rosseau, an amazing artist and a very clever thief, runs wild with her protector, Algernon, trying to join the idealistic freedom fighters of Paris. But when she is caught stealing from none other than the king’s brother and the lady from the waxworks, Celie must use her drawing talent to buy her own freedom or die for her crimes. Forced to work for Madame Tussaud inside the opulent walls that surround Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Celie is shocked to find that the very people she imagined to be monsters actually treat her with kindness. But the thunder of revolution still rolls outside the gates, and Celie is torn between the cause of the poor and the safety of the rich. When the moment of truth arrives, will she turn on Madame Tussaud or betray the boy she loves? From the hidden garrets of the starving poor to the jeweled halls of Versailles, Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice is a sweeping story of danger, intrigue, and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history.
As you may or may not know by now, I love French history. So, when I found this book on Book Outlet, I had to have it. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived to find that it was only 220 pages. I have been to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in New York so I thought this would be an interesting read given that I knew next to nothing about her.
I really like the cover art of this one. The typography is very pretty without being overwhelming. I like the simplicity in the color choices as well. Lastly, I thought the gate at the bottom was a nice feature. It reminds me of Versaille without being overly French.
The realism. I found it very refreshing to see that everything didn’t tie itself up neatly in the end. History played out as I learned it and people died. It was sad to read, but there was no magic or alternate time line. It was just history from a POV of a person that I had never thought to view it from. Before reading this novel, I had no idea how close Madame Tussaud was to the court of King Louis XVI and how profoundly the French Revolution impacted her work. I emensly enjoyed taking in a new perspective on this point in time.
I read this book in one sitting. I loved it. At times, I found the romance a bit rushed and incomplete but overall, I really enjoyed Madame Tussaud’s character. Her life was very sad in many ways but she did her best to make the most of it.
Recommendations for Further Reading
- An Affair of Poisions by Addie Thorley – this is another story that revolves around French History (a different time period, but still someone trying to overthrow a French King).
- Rook by Sharon Cameron – although this is a dystopian future version of France, there are strong historical French influences as well as themes of revolution and change.
- Fawkes by Nadine Brandes – this story is actually set in England (as the name might suggest), but it has a very similar feeling of history through unexpected eyes, that I think is similar to that in Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice. There is also a friends to lovers romance that is quite similar.