I’m never quite with the program when it comes to reading the latest and greatest just when the latest and greatest has been determined such…..usually, when I hear there’s a lot of hype about a book, I’ll avoid it like the plague until I break down and begin the first sentence ~ then if I’m hooked by that sentence, I’m usually lost to everyone til I’m done. Such was the case with Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. I remember my girls telling me to read A Northern Light and I simply never got around to it. Then I had an extra Audible credit I needed to use up, came across Revolution, the cover intrigued me, the war was unknown to me and the rest is now history.
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.
Narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering, Revolution is a production to savor. The novel takes us into the heart of the French Revolution through the eyes of a young peasant, Alexandrine, while modern-day Andi shares the struggles of a gifted teenager weighed down by grief and guilt. The teenage angst expressed and exhibited by Andi in the beginning felt incredibly overwhelming, but in Emily’s gifted voice, I could sense the overwhelming guilt and feel the tragedy of Andi’s situation. Emma, as Alexandrine, takes us into the heart of Paris and the palace, Versaille, all the while stressing the powerlessness of Alexandrine’s position – her starving family needing her to bring an income and food into the home; a young prince requiring her services; and a revolution closing in on her. Emma flawlessly delivers a slight French accent and superbly voices over the complicated French pronunciations.
The novel was fascinated me with the details of the end of the monarchy in France and beginning of the Reign of Terror. As a music lover (of most any kind) I found the references to everyone from John Lee Hooker to Bach, Debussy, Lizst then Radiohead, Led Zeppelin and Red Hot Chili Peppers to enhance the story-line. Music is such a wonderful vehicle to express and relieve emotion that perfectly aligned with Andi’s grief.
My one complaint with the novel is a time travel aspect that seemed out of place and out of sorts with the progression. It felt contrived and “made up” when the story was moving along perfectly wonderfully without the jump through time. With that said, my overall experience with this book was positive and I can’t wait to begin A Northern Light….only a few several years after both of my daughters recommended it to me! If you have the time to listen to Revolution rather than read the novel, I would definitely recommend it ~ especially when it comes to the French pronunciations!
Oh, and before I forget ~ the “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for All” is the mantra shouted during the French Revolution. Kind of neat, huh?
FTC: I purchased this audiobook for my own enjoyment.