Thursday, April 26, 2012

Video Book Review: The Academie

Author: Susanne Dunlap
Release Date: February 28, 2012

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.

This cover took my breath away, literally!! Being a highly experienced shopaholic I was at a loss for words because I want that dress! Then you open up to the first page and Eliza Monroe says, “Not to mention the gowns. How everyone in Virginia will be envious of me when I return with the latest fashions to show them!” Now that is off to a good start :)

This book was a double hit with me because it was young adult and historical fiction; sign me up! The three girls who get to tell their stories are: Eliza Monroe, future US President James Monroe’s daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais who is the stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Madeline who is an actress in the Comedie Françoise. We also have Caroline Bonaparte who is the younger sister to Napoleon Bonaparte. Some people do not like books with multiple narrators, but me on the other hand; I love it! I think it keeps the story/adventure interesting because you are on a new and incredible journey with each girl.

I connected mostly with Hortense who had a real vision and sense of compassion for the world around her. I felt like she really did care about the characters that she made contact with and had such a genuine spirit when it came to her loved ones. Eliza was a bit naïve and was harder to connect with, but I loved to be able to see how much her character and courage had grown by the end of the book. Madeline had an interesting background, being a mulatto girl in 1799, but her story became more and more depressing. I felt so sorry for the conditions that she had been placed under for most of her life. And last but not least there is, Caroline. She is someone that all of us can connect to because at times we can all be a little deceptive. She had her eyes on the prize and went after the man she loved and wanted to spend her life with, while letting no one or nothing intervene.

 However, I wish Susanne would have allowed Caroline to be a narrator in the story as well. I hated having to solely read about her through Hortense, Eliza, and Madeline. Her character was creatively crafted and she probably had the most dramatic and interesting thoughts out of all the girls :(

Susanne Dunlap captured the historical realm of the eighteenth century and did a wonderful job relaying that to her readers. When I found out that their stories were not all fiction I literally beamed inside! These girls knew each other! When these girls all finally learn to trust one another and actually rely upon one another their friendship becomes magical. Caroline and Hortense have worked so hard to stay enemies that when they become friends it is powerful; two very intelligent and bright women putting their heads together= GREAT!! Their connections are when the book really starts to get good. That is when you almost leap off the bed saying, “I knew it!!”


  1. Hi Chelsey! OK so first of all, you have the CUTEST southern accent ever lol :) And I love the red lipstick, it would probably be hard for ME to pull that off ;)

    I just received this book in the mail but it has been on my TBR list forever now, I just LOVE historical fiction and books with boarding schools for rich girls lol, so I am definitely planning on reading this one soon-- I'm so glad you found it to be such a great read!

    ~Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland

  2. Awww thanks!! I get that a lot about both the southern accent and the red lipstick!! It's a southern thang :) lol! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did :)