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In this dramatic novel set during the French Revolution, a teen aristocrat must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society.
Secrets are revealed, sympathies shift, and every choice change—or end—a life. Spoiled, beautiful fourteen-year-old Eugenie de Boncoeur is accustomed to outrageous privilege. The French Revolution may rage around her, but Eugenie's luxurious lifestyle is only improved by visits from her brother, Armand, especially doting since the two were orphaned. What Eugenie doesn't know is that their guardian has promised her in marriage to the wealthy, vengeful Le Fantome, a revolutionary nursing a secret grudge against her family. As the Revolution becomes increasingly violent, Eugenie is shipped off to convent school. Finally, there is no place in France that is safe for her. Eugenie dusts off her lightly used brains and rises to the challenge of survival; and soon she is in the thick of turmoil and romance, confronting spies, secret agents, and double-crossing suitors in her quest to get out of France alive.
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Patricia Elliott was born in London, but grew up in Europe and the Far East. A voracious reader since childhood (where she had the resources of ten different school libraries), she also made up ghost stories to scare her friends! As an adult, she worked in publishing in London and in a children's bookshop in New York. She now teaches a course in children's literature at an adult education college, and is writing further novels. She lives in Barnes with her husband, two sons and a yellow labrador called Fingal.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7–10—The French Revolution forces spoiled Eugénie out of her privileged, narrow existence and into the larger world: hiding in decrepit houses, being hungry, and encountering starving peasants. Betrothed by her guardian to "Le Fantôme," the "richest man in Paris," who harbors a grudge against her family, Eugénie attempts to escape both him and increasingly dangerous France as her 16th birthday and wedding day approach. Her flight, while somewhat exciting to read about, is ultimately due to good fortune and the inexplicable help of others, and not the ill-conceived plan of her royalist brother and his compatriot. The strength of the novel is that it captures the mindset of a girl who has never considered the needs of others and the shock and fear the Revolution caused in the aristocracy. As a heroine, Eugénie isn't bad, just self-centered. While her brother stays behind in a country where his life is in danger, she thinks about her newest love interest. Other than being an unattractive lurker with cold hands, the "pale assassin" (the fiancé) isn't particularly scary. Purchase where historical fiction is popular.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
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