Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent

First line: Paris, 1765. Five-year-old Claudette Laurent raced down the street from her father's doll shop to knock on the door of Charles and Michelle Renaud.

From the back cover: On the brink of revolution, with a tide of hate turned against the decadent royal court, France is in turmoil - as is the life of one young woman forced to leave her beloved Paris. After a fire destroys her home and family, Claudette Laurent is struggling to survive in London. But one precious gift remains: her talent for creating exquisite dolls that Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France herself, cherishes. When the queen requests a meeting, Claudette seizes the opportunity to promote her business, and to return home...

Amid the violence and unrest, Claudette befriends the Queen, who bears no resemblance to the figurehead rapidly becoming the scapegoat of the Revolution. But when Claudette herself is lured into a web of deadly political intrigue, it becomes clear that friendship with France's most despised woman has grim consequences. Now, overshadowed by the specter of Madame Guillotine, the Queen's dollmaker will face the ultimate test.

My thoughts: I absolutely loved this book. I saw a blurb about the book in the New York Times Bookreview and immediately reserved the book at the library. Once I got it, I had a hard time getting motivated to start reading it, but then once I started, I could not put it down! I found the details of the doll making to be utterly fascinating...from the initial designing to the carving, wax working, and dressing - a process involving a lot of trial and error. Getting a glimpse into the worlds of  the French court was interesting, especially from the perspective of a London merchant. The storyline allows you to view the Terror and the fall of the French monarchy through a completely different lens. 

I am especially eager to read Christine Trent's new novel, The Wax Apprentice, which follows the story of one of the characters from The Queen's Dollmaker, due out in early 2011.

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3 comments

  1. Dear Kristin, thank you for your lovely review of my book. I'm glad you enjoyed Claudette's adventures!

    Christine

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  2. Wow. This sounds like an interesting book. I never really thought about the art of dollmaking, but I'm sure that a lot goes into it. I'd definitely be interested in reading this sometime.

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  3. That sounds really interesting, Kristin! I'm adding it to my TBR list! (I found you through the hop - I don't know if my comment on that post took though)

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