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.
— Goodreads.com description
I haven’t read historical fiction in ages, and The Academie by Susanne Dunlap was just the book to remind me to read it more often.
I know little to nothing about France under Napoleon’s reign, but discovering it through the eyes of these characters was fascinating. There’s mystery, romance, politics, intrigue…everything you’d want in a good piece of historical fiction. Plus, at the end, there’s an author’s note tying everything together, explaining what’s accurate, what’s fiction, and so on. Thanks goodness, because I was about to have to Wikipedia the heck out of every character mentioned.
The only snag for me was that The Academie is told from four different points of view. I prefer books with one narrator and getting insanely invested in their story and thoughts. To me, four narrators is a little difficult to follow. I found myself loving Eliza and Hortense’s stories, so I sort of shuffled through the other two girls’ chapters a little quickly.
All in all, The Academie by Susanne Dunlap a great read for fans of historical fiction. This author really impressed with her balance of fun and “real stuff,” and she’s clearly done her research.