Celie Rosseau has lost everything: Her father was shot by the Comte d’Artois’s men for accidentally wandering onto his private lands, and her mother and brother have died from starvation since they were unable to work the fields after the death of her father. In the aftermath of so much loss, Celie decides to go to Paris to join the freedom fighters there, men and women who are rebelling against the king and the aristocracy, asking for their fair share of the wealth.
But the trip nearly kills her. Alone and starving by the side of the road to Paris, a boy, Algernon, comes along and rescues her from death. Soon Celie is pulled into Algernon’s world of thievery, where she discovers she has quite the talent. Her fingers are nimble in picking locks, and her mind is a steel trap when it comes to remembering and redrawing the inside of houses to rob. And too, she finds herself falling for the handsome Algernon.
But when the famous waxwork lady, Madame Tussaud, catches the two, they are forced to work for the waxwork house or face the gallows.
Soon, Celie finds herself caught up in the art of making wax figures. Madame Tussaud is thrilled with Celie’s drawing skills, eventually taking Celie to Versailles to help teach the King’s sister. It is at the palace that Celie begins to see a new side to the wealthy – a kinder side, a human side.
So when at last the revolution comes, and Algernon becomes embroiled in the arrests and deposing of the king, Celie is left to choose sides. While she supports the right of the people to rebel, can she stomach the violence and the beheadings that seem to accompany the fight for equality?
What will she do? Stay with Madame Tussaud and her life of privilege making art and enjoying her freedom? Or run away with Algernon, the boy she loves, and join the path of revolution and revenge?
Read my book MADAME TUSSAUD’S APPRENTICE to find out.
And start your own reading revolution!!!
The historical Madame Tussaud provides an unusual lens on the French Revolution.
Sixteen-year-old thief Celie and her companion in crime, Algernon, make a precarious living stealing from the French elite. Both teens resent the aristocracy, believing that the rich caused the deaths of their families. By chance, Celie’s artistic talents come into play when she is arrested for stealing from Madame Tussaud; the famed waxwork lady, whose art is already one of the popular attractions in Paris, takes her in to make use of her skill at drawing uncannily realistic representations. Madame Tussaud is also the drawing tutor to the king’s sister, Madame Elizabeth, which brings the reluctant Celie into the last innocent days at Versailles. When the revolution begins, Algernon fights for freedom, but Madame Tussaud faces the guillotine. Duble’s writing flows smoothly. . . The history behind the story (such as the fact that Madame Tussaud was forced to make wax casts of the severed heads of the royals, including her friend Madame Elizabeth) is fascinating, and it propels the story to its somewhat hopeful end. . .
. . An intriguing look at an ever compelling time. KIRKUS (Historical fiction. 12-16)