Monday, June 25, 2012

The Académie by Susanne Dunlap

The Académie by Susanne Dunlap
Release Date –  , 2012
Publisher Website –  Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Eliza Monroe-daughter of the future president of the United States-is devastated when her mother decides to send her to boarding school outside of Paris. But the young American teen is quickly reconciled to the idea when-ooh, la-la!-she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn't take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies-and that she's about to get caught in the middle of their schemes. 
Loosely drawn from history, Eliza Monroe's imagined coming of age provides a scintillating glimpse into the lives, loves, and hopes of three young women during one of the most volatile periods in French history.
Political intrigue, and a huge moment in French history are the back drop to this rather cute, and fun novel.
The novel switches narration between Eliza, Hortense, Caroline and Madeleine. Eliza, the young, innocent American girl. Hortense, the daughter of Josephine Bonaparte. She’s young woman with a hero crush on her stepfather, and is dealing with a huge amount of family drama. Caroline, the cunning, and experienced sister of Napoleon. She will stop at nothing to marry the man she wishes, even if it means hurting others. Lastly, the daughter of an actress, Madeleine has had a rough life, and her beloved has promised to rescue her.  These three girls stories intertwine and build up to a heartbreaking ending.

I found myself enjoying certain perspectives more than others. I enjoyed Eliza’s innocent and naivety about politics and  found her very endearing. I also enjoyed Hortense’s voice. She was resolved, and willing to make sacrifices for her family. It was hard not to like her. I enjoyed the Caroline chapters least of all, as I felt her frivolous and selfish. Madeleine invokes sympathy but is otherwise unremarkable.

I was enchanted by the historical aspect and the school itself. The historical components of this novel are skewed a little as the author plays with history to fit the characters and plot the way her story calls for them. This may be distracting to some people, however, I wasn’t bothered by it. It made me want to research to find out what really happened. If this happens to others after reading, I think that is fantastic.

The ending of the story is heartbreaking and tragic. However, I wish it had been built up more. It seems rushed and that takes some of the emotion out of it. The death feels very unnecessary and like it could have been avoided.

With the political intrigue, a defining moment in history and some likeable girls, Susanne Dunlap has created a fun novel. I just wish it would have gone a little deeper into the plot and characters to push it from an ok novel, to a great one.


  1. Wonderful, thoughtful review, Kathy! How beautiful is that cover? So sensual and mysterious.. love the colors and the dress! I love books with interesting historical/cultural backdrop, especially if it's something set in Europe. This book definitely caught my attention when I first saw it around the web, but i didn't have a chance to pick it up yet. I will, eventually, but with so many gorgeous Summer/Fall releases it's really hard to get around to reading titles that I have not received from publisher for review. That being said, thank you for your great review, Kathy. I now have a good idea what this book is all about and what to expect from it - <3

  2. I love when a book inspires me to research after I finish - whether it's a historical element or mythology. I love tragic endings too, although a shame it felt rushed. Despite a few flaws, this does sound like a really entertaining novel and yet another I need to add to my TBR of YA historicals! I like that it's growing :D Fantastic review, Kathy!

  3. Thank you so much for this thoughtful review of my novel!

  4. I was really excited to read this one, and found myself not enjoying it as much as I had hoped. Like you said, I wish it would have gone deeper into the plot and characters. Great review!

  5. Lovely review - thank you very much for your honesty! I've been intrigued by the sound of The Académie ever since I first saw it, so I definitely should get a copy sometime later this year. :)


I love comments. Thank you for stopping by my blog and thank you even more for leaving me a comment.

I have decided to make this an awards free blog. I appreciate the gesture, and love that you thought of my blog, however I simply can't pass them along as required.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...