Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: YA fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Emily Janice Card, Emma Baring
First line: Those who can, do.
Andi is just existing. She drifts through her days, taking too many anti-depressants and blaming herself for her younger brother’s death. She only comes alive when playing her guitar. When her absentee father finds out that she might not graduate, he takes her to Paris with him over winter break. He’s there to do DNA testing on a preserved heart that is believed to have belonged to Louis-Charles, the son of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Andi is supposed to be doing research on the composer Amade Malherbeau for her senior thesis.
While playing an antique guitar dating back to the French Revolution, Andi finds a hidden compartment containing the diary of Alexandrine, a woman who was the companion of the young Louis-Charles. As Andi becomes more and more wrapped up in Alex’s story, the line between the present and the past becomes increasingly blurry.
It was Sandy’s review of Revolution that had me searching the library’s web site and I was thrilled that they had it on audio, because that is definitely the way to experience this book.
This was my first encounter with the work of author Jennifer Donnelly, and I believe she is mainly an author of YA historical fiction. With the dual storylines in this book, she proves that she is brilliant at writing both contemporary and historical fiction. Usually when a book has two storylines, one historical and one modern, I find myself loving one storyline and wishing the other one would go by more quickly so I can get back to the one I love. That was not the case with Revolution – I was equally invested in Andi’s and Alexandrine’s stories. And with this book, Donnelly did what all good writers of historical fiction do – she made me want to know more about the French Revolution. (Anyone know of a readable history of that war?)
Audio notes: The two young women who narrate Revolution are sheer perfection. I understand from Sandy’s review that this production won an award; it is well-deserved.