Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Donnelley, Jennifer. 2010. REVOLUTION. New York: Delacorte. ISBN 9780385737630 [Suggested Grade Levels 8-12]

Realism, historical fiction, and time travel blend effortlessly in this remarkable novel by Jennifer Donnelley. Andi is dealing with a lot after the death of her younger brother, the dissolution of her family, and almost flunking out of school, so her father forces her to come with him to Paris where he is using DNA to determine if a preserved heart is that of the son of Louis XVI. When their host shows her a guitar case and diary of Alexandrine, a young girl who tried to protect the prince, the girls’ lives begin to intertwine as Andi experiences Alexandrine’s life as a musician and a spy. Andi, who has become suicidal, shares Alexandrine’s love of the guitar and finds that she relates to the girl’s story. In reliving Alexandrine’s life, Andi finds the strength to continue hers.

Donnelley’s superb craftsmanship and storytelling, her strong characters, and her ability to blend the past and the present make this an excellent work. Using the guitar and music as a thread to unite the two characters adds another layer of uniqueness in this well-researched novel.

High school history teachers could easily integrate this book into a study of the French Revolution. It would also be useful to high school French teachers to introduce students to the history of France and for English teachers to teach literary elements.

Other books by Jennifer Donelley:
A NORTHERN LIGHT. ISBN 9780152053109

Other books set during the French Revolution:
Gardner, Sally. THE RED NECKLACE. ISBN 9780142414880
Streissguth, Thomas. WOMEN OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. ISBN 9781590184721

By Janet Hilbun

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