Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: The Academie by Susanne Dunlap


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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Source: eARC from NetGalley/Bloomsbury
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Overview

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
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My Thoughts

I don't really read many historical fiction novels, so I didn't quite know what to expect from this. The synopsis sounded interesting, so I was really excited to read it. It is a slow but steady story that picks up a little as it goes, but to me it was too slow overall.  It is told in three different PoV's and I really like how they tie together in the end. I never felt confused at all. It was a well done multi-PoV.


We first meet Eliza, who is the American girl who is pretty much dumped off at this boarding school. I thought she was a little too self-centered, and easily manipulated. She was likable enough, but in general, I found her a bit dull and kind of annoying. Then there's Hortense, who is daughter of Josephine. She is a very complex character, and there is a lot of depth to her. She isn't at all what she seems. I really enjoyed getting to know her, and her secrets. Madeline is the daughter of an actress. I felt bad for her, then didn't like her at all, but by the end I was heart-broken for her. We also have Caroline, who doesn't have her own PoV, but we get a lot of her. She is quite vindictive and I didn't like her at all.


It was interesting to read about how an all girls academy was back in 1799. I really was expecting a little bit more detail and descriptions, but it fell a little flat with that. The story was really centered completely around the characters themselves, with very little information about the other important things going on in France, and the US. We get just a little taste of it. There was a lot of deception going on in this story, but I didn't really feel anything while reading it. I wanted to feel like I was being betrayed, or loved, or tortured. I wanted to feel what the characters were feeling, but I just didn't. The only character I really felt a slight connection to was Madeline. She was just treated so horribly by her mother, but was so hopeful because she was in love. 


So I don't even really know what else to say about this story. Eliza is pretty much just thrown into the middle of things. and literally dragged around and stuck in the middle of Hortense and Caroline's plans. She has a bit of her own thing going on, but for the most part she is just kind of there. All of the other girls have their love interests, and families, and Eliza is tagging along. Hortense, Caroline, want to marry for love. Their families want them to marry for convenience. Madeline just wants to escape her awful mother and marry the man she loves. The thing she doesn't know is that his mother won't hear of it. She is just an actresses daughter, no one of importance. They will all lie and deceive to try to get what they want. There is a lot of "Oh, this is what I want, but I don't want to hurt so and so.", but it never really felt like they were really concerned about others. It was just empty words. Everyone had their own agenda to get exactly what they wanted. I feel like this review seems really negative, and I don't mean for it to come across that way at all. I did enjoy the book. There were plenty of things I did like. I thought that some of the touches of romance were sweet, but there were just a lot of things that put me off.  I guess I really wanted to know more, and I wanted a little faster pace. It was well written, and I was content reading it. I would give this 3 out of 5 stars.

12 comments:

  1. I often have the same trouble with historical fiction, especially in YA--let's get a little more pep in there, you know? I've heard good things about this author, but maybe this isn't the right book of hers to try. Thanks for the honest review!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. It was okay, I just felt like they didn't really touch on any of the events that were happening. I think that the story and what is happening would have been better if I felt the story. I just wasn't pulled in. I really wanted to like it more.

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  2. Agree! Love historical fiction when it's gripping -- and it can be!

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    1. Yeah, I have read some awesome ones, but this one just fell a little short unfortunately. It could just be me. Other people may like it much more than I did.

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  3. I've been curious about this for a while now. I do enjoy a good historical fiction. I hate that there isn't an account if what's happening in the world, that might have drawn you in a bit more. I don't know, I might try this one at done point, but I'm not in a hurry.
    Nice review!

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    1. Thanks hon. I always hate to sound negative. It really wasn't bad, I just wanted a little more out of it.

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  4. "It was interesting to read about how an all girls academy was back in 1799." This was the main reason I was curious about this book. It sounds interesting to go back but it's really disappointing that it wasn't really in depth. Bleh. Oh well, since I was dissed by the pub because i'm Canadian I probably won't read it now. That is me being spiteful haha

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    Replies
    1. That's pretty lame. What they don't think people in Canada are going to read it? Really though, with how many awesome books there are out and coming out, it's not really worth the time. It was good, but there are plenty of others I would have rather spent the time on.

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  5. LOL I'm Canadian too!!! Then I definitely won't be reading it! But whatever great review Amy...too bad you didn't love it! Personally the only historical fiction novel I enjoyed is actually a series called the Luxe!

    Jaskirat~SeeitORreadit

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    1. It's not that I don't like historical fiction, but this book was just lacking for me. It was okay. The cover is really pretty though lol!!

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  6. 3 out of 5 isn't bad. I'm definitely still going to read the Academie, but it does suck that you never really connected with any of the characters. To me, that sort of investment in a book's characters is very, very important.

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    Replies
    1. It's hard with so many different POV's. I think that it was done well, but I just needed more. It's a very character driven book, so I really needed to connect with them.

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