The Academie

The Academie

3.5 4
by Susanne Dunlap

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Ooh-la-la. It's Gossip Girls-18th century style-as Eliza Monroe (daughter of the future president), Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter of Josephine Bonaparte) and Caroline Bonaparte (Napoleon's sister) study, socialize, and indulge in flirtatious liasons at an exclusive boarding school near Paris.See more details below


Ooh-la-la. It's Gossip Girls-18th century style-as Eliza Monroe (daughter of the future president), Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter of Josephine Bonaparte) and Caroline Bonaparte (Napoleon's sister) study, socialize, and indulge in flirtatious liasons at an exclusive boarding school near Paris.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
During Eliza Monroe and her mother’s year away from Virginia in postrevolutionary France, 14-year-old Eliza is sent (unwillingly) to a boarding school outside Paris, where the daughter of future president James Monroe befriends two celebrated yet conniving young ladies: Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s youngest sister, and Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Joséphine Bonaparte’s first marriage (before she married Napoleon). Caroline and Hortense are enemies, each attempting to use Eliza as their pawn. Caroline is in love with General Murat, while Hortense has feelings for her music teacher as well as Napoleon, her stepfather. Eliza has a crush on Eugène, Hortense’s brother, who has in turn promised himself to Madeleine, the abused daughter of an actress. Eliza becomes trapped in the girls’ schemes, learning the freedom of being ordinary and that love “is a strange and dangerous thing.” Dunlap’s (In the Shadow of the Lamp) intricate plot darts among the first-person narratives of Eliza, Caroline, Hortense, and Madeleine. The elegant work of historical fiction is laced with fluttery romances, psychological games, and surprises. Ages 12–up. Agent: Adam Chromy, Moveable Type Management. (Apr.)
VOYA - Nancy Wallace
Eliza Monroe, the daughter of James Monroe, future president of the United States, reluctantly attends an exclusive boarding school near Paris. She is shocked that one of her fellow students is Napoleon's sister, Caroline, and another is Josephine Bonaparte's daughter, Hortense. The tension between these two celebrities sucks Eliza into a web of intrigue and deception. Unable to decide who to trust, Eliza tries to maintain friendships with both girls, succeeding in becoming a conspirator herself. A fourth girl, Madeleine, the daughter of an actress, falls in love with Hortense's brother, Eugene, only to lose her life in a failed attempt to convince his family to allow them to marry. Set against the backdrop of Napoleon's rise to power, the plot ensnares the characters in political turmoil and changes their lives forever. This novel presents four strong heroines who are not content to allow their families and society to dictate their futures. The girls sneak out of the Academie multiple times, construct uniforms and pose as soldiers in an effort to ferret out clandestine military maneuvers, and fabricate messages to misdirect and expose young lovers. They represent three real women who studied together at Madame Campan's Academie during the turbulent years following the French Revolution. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel has enough conspiracy and suspense to hook most teen readers of historical fiction. It deserves a spot in most young adult collections. Reviewer: Nancy Wallace
VOYA - Mary Kusluch
This story of romance, thrills, and secrecy highlights life's good times and bad times in eighteenth-century France, presenting a stunning sequence of events. For those looking for a book full of surprises, this is a must. Set in Napoleon's time, these girls go through extraordinary days. The sensual, dynamic characters color the book with their light and feeling. Despite the fantastic events they go through, you can relate to each one of them. Reviewer: Mary Kusluch, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What is it like to live in Paris just a few years after the French Revolution? In this well-crafted historical novel, Dunlap takes readers on a voyage through the rich tapestry of life in post-Revolution France. Madame Campan's Academie Nationale is one of the most prestigious schools in the world, and Eliza Monroe, the daughter of the future president, ends up there in the company of Hortense de Beauharnais, who is the daughter of Josephine Bonaparte, and Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister. Soon Eliza is caught up in the riches of Paris, while her father steps up in the ranks of American society across the Atlantic. Eliza spends her time in the company of the most famous women in the world, learning grace, manners, and conversation. By the end of this epic, a girl fulfills her dreams, another girl dies for love, and a girl is forever heartbroken. In this moving story, young readers will step back in time 200 years to post-Revolutionary France. Dunlap creates a rich tapestry of characters and settings in this finely crafted novel. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—This light romance is set in the period following the French Revolution when Napoleon was coming into political power. When 14-year-old Eliza Monroe of Virginia becomes a student at a Parisian finishing school in 1799, she discovers that Napoleon's stepdaughter Hortense and his sister Caroline are among her fellow pupils. Caroline is a calculating charmer who has decided that she is in love with one of Napoleon's generals and sets out to capture his heart. Hortense and her brother Eugene, children of Napoleon's mistress, Josephine, are in love with individuals whom their mother deems unsuitable. Eliza is pulled into dangerous adventures by Caroline, but it is Hortense who becomes a truer, older, and wiser friend to her. All three young women are a curious mix of näiveté and worldliness. Hortense and Caroline realize that they will probably have arranged marriages of convenience, although Caroline is out to change that. However, knowing what their futures may hold doesn't stop them or Eliza from having crushes, which they call falling in love, on young men who may or may not even notice them. The Parisian students also understand that their parents are not faithful to each other, but don't look upon this as a fault. The writing is a bit stilted in a nod to the time period. Students who enjoy historical fiction and period romances will find this to their liking.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Kirkus Reviews
This peculiar hybrid of fact-checked historical fiction and breathless bodice-ripper chronicles the romantic flings of four teens in 1799 France. Eliza Monroe, daughter of future U.S. president James Monroe, arrives at a Paris finishing school where she's befriended by fellow pupils Hortense de Beauharnais (daughter of Joséphine, stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte) and Caroline Bonaparte (sister of Napoleon): beautiful, scheming frenemies. This promising, frothy-but-fun scenario is overshadowed by a less-successful melodrama. Madeleine de Pourtant, secretly engaged to Hortense's brother, is the daughter of Gloriande, a star of the Comédie Française. Formerly enslaved in Martinique, Gloriande--drug-addicted, abusive, mentally unstable, a sexual omnivore discarded by her white aristocratic husband--resurrects the toxic "tragic mulatto" stereotype, as does Madeleine herself. The plot veers unsteadily from accounts of student entertainments, girlish crushes and romantic intrigues to Gloriande's depraved brutality and Madeleine's misery. Throughout, narrators Hortense, Eliza and Madeleine keep the emotional temperature constant, reacting to overheard gossip, the discovery of admirers and General Bonaparte's power plays with the same feverish excitement. Dunlap has clearly done her history homework, but characterization is sketchy and the noisy plot not always credible. Annemarie Selinko's classic historical romance Désirée (1953) offers what's missing: compelling characters who made, and were made by, the world they lived in. Pass. (Historical romance. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

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