Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Year Published: 2010
Price: Rp. 108.000 (Times Bookstore)
What this book is about:
Andi Alpers was genius in music, rich, and a daughter of a noble-winner scientist. But her life was ruined two years before by the death of her 10 year old brother, Truman. Andi felt that it was her mistakes that caused her brother death. Her family was torn after that incident. Her dad kept busy with his research and her mother fell into depression. Andi herself almost failed to graduate because she didn't work her thesis about a classic French musician called Amade Malherbeau.
Seeing his daughter's condition, Lewis Alpers brought his daughter to France to stay with his friend, G and Lili. G happened to be his partner in a research about the French's lost prince, Louis XVII or Louis-Charles who was believed had died when he was 10 in prison after the Revolution. In G's house, Andi got a lot of references about Amade Malherbeau but one day, she found an old guitar case with secret compartment in it. The secret compartment happened to keep some photos, which Andi believed was the photo of Louis-Charles, and a diary.
Alexandrine Paradis lived by the time of the Revolution. She was a poor girl who worked as a street performer. Her encounter with the King and his family after the dead of the Dauphin (Crown Prince), Louis-Joseph, brought Alex to be the new Dauphin's, Louis-Charles', companion. At first, Alex only thought about keeping her stomach full but gradually she fell in love with young Louis-Charles. After the Revolution, Alex kept accompanying the Dauphin until Louis-Charles was separated from his mother, Queen Marie Antoinette, and imprisoned in the Temple jail. Alex always tried to save the Dauphin but failed until she remembered that the Dauphin loved fireworks so much. Alex then secretly threw the fireworks around the city, hoping that the Dauphin would be able to see it and knew that he wasn't left alone. Alex wrote her stories in her diary until her last day.
As Andi read pages by pages of the diary, unconsciously Andi had already begun her own adventure. By the end, Andi found out that the connection between her and Alex was more beyond her expectation.
My opinion about this book:
WOW!! I am really dazzled by this book. I love the story so much. It was so tragic but also so beautiful. It was so heartbreaking but also so heartwarming. I don't know, I am actually speechless right now.
First of all, let me inform you that actually, I bought this book only to meet the requirement of minimum total price to get discount voucher at Times Bookstore. So, I bought this book completely blind about anything. I had never heard the author's name. I had never read the review about this book. Of course I read the blurb before I decided to buy this book, but I didn't know where exactly the author will lead me in this story to (most of the time the blurb doesn't do any help in finding out what a book is actually about). What the main conflict will be. So what if Andi found the diary of an 18th century girl? How will their lives connected? I was pretty blind and didn't know what to expect back then. And after I started reading it, I felt bored. Some first chapters were, honestly, failed to hook me so that I put the book down twice before finally decided to try finishing this book. Andi's life in USA, honestly, was pretty boring since she seems to study in this elite school for genius where her friend coud connect to world leaders so easily and also some snob friends, bla bla.
But, as soon as Andi hit France and read Alex's diary, things became much more interesting. The diary told a story of French Revolution from the eyes of a girl who was secretly being too much involved with it. Alex was in the inner circle of the Royal Family during the revolution as she was working as the Dauphin, Louis-Charles's companion. But also, she was working for Duc d'Orleans, the King's cousin who wanted to throw down the King so much. So many real characters and events told in Alex's diary and the reader could really feel the atmosphere of the revolution through it. But the most real of all was Alex's true feeling. Alex loved Louis-Charles so much and didn't want the kid to suffer but she was also a spy for the King's enemy and caused the kid's suffering and death. It was so heartbreaking and depressing to read what Alex felt during those days. The connection between Alex and Andi then was made as Andi also felt the same as Alex. She always blamed herself for her little brother's death. But after she "met" Alex, slowly she gained her spirit back. And the ending.. It was quite surprising.
Jennifer Donnelly had done an amazing job in this book. Her research in history and music has made this book so alive and her writing is so great. I like the twist and the ending. I really admire her and hope I can read her other books soon. It's always so nice to find out that the book you bought randomly turns out to be one of your most favorite books of all, like this book.