Off With His Head! ‘Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice’ by Kathleen Benner Duble

Madame Tussaud's Apprentice by KB DubleBriefly: Celie Rousseau has been dealt a bad hand. Her father was killed, her mother and brother died of starvation. Not able to pay taxes to the Compte d’Artois, Celie is forced to leave her cottage and find her way to Paris. Saved from the brink of starvation herself by Algernon, a boy who has also witnessed horrible suffering, they fall in together, doing what they can to stay alive.

Certainly things must get better in pre-revolutionary France. There are too many starving and homeless people left to steal to make ends meet. Captured after a con gone wrong, Celie faces prison. But Celie possesses an eidetic memory and a talent for drawing. This always came in handy when she and Algernon were casing homes to rob; but can it sway her captors from a certain hanging?

Before she knows it, she has not only saved Algernon and herself from certain death, she has a roof over her head, food in her belly and clean clothes to wear. Then she learns that she is to help her new benefactor, Madame Tussaud, teach drawing to the King’s sister at Versailles. Algernon is hearing things about revolution, and as they start to diverge from each other, Celie can’t help but wonder if he is lost to her for ever.

Didja Like It?: The writing is fast-paced with out being melodramatic. Everyone knows (or should know) the story of the French Revolution, and this book shows both sides evenly. While it was no picnic (literally) being poor during this time period, not all of the so-called “Royalists” approved of the state of the country. You weren’t made to feel sorry for the rich, yet you could see how disconnected they were from the suffering, being kept away from it by courtiers who were more interested in having fun.

Anything Else to Mention?: Without (hopefully) giving anything away, I do hope that there are more adventures where perhaps the Compte d’Artois (who is, coincidentally, the former King’s brother) will get his just desserts.

To Read or Not To Read: Mais oui, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.

Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice by Kathleen Benner Duble was published August 1, 2014 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to Merit Press ad the author.

Rating: 4
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Historical Action/Adventure
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note

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