The Queen’s Dollmaker by Christine Trent
ARC, Paperback, 384 pages
January 1, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: From author for review (thanks Christine!)
Claudette Laurent is a burgeoning apprentice to her father, a well known dollmaker in Paris and she has a secret betrothal with her young love, Jean Philippe. One day Claudette wakes up and finds that part of the city is on fire and it is heading their way! After the smoke has cleared, Claudette finds herself an orphan and on a ship to England – bye, bye Jean Philippe! In England, Claudette makes some great friends, butts heads with the upper class, and eventually opens her own doll shop. When Queen Marie Antoinette becomes one of her best customers, Claudette becomes entangled with the scandal of the French court and rapidly evolving French Revolution.
This novel was my first read about the French Revolution (shocking, I know!). Trent does a great job of setting the mood of the upper class courtiers and the middle class trades people. You get an understanding of just why the Revolution took place. I found myself feeling very sorry for Marie Antoinette – she was constantly taken advantage of, and just when she starts to make her stride, she meets her end. I also enjoyed meeting a young Madame Tussaud, before she became the famous person everyone remembers.
It is a very interesting premise to have the main character, who is fictional, make her living as a dollmaker. There are many details about the dolls, the process of making the dolls, different types of dolls, and the function of these dolls in society. I didn’t know that Marie Antoinette was a big collector of dolls. I have always enjoyed reading about real characters who were not the main players in history, but this was also interesting because it was a character that does an unconventional job.
There was only one small issue that I had with the book and that was with the introduction. When Claudette was at her home and realized that there was a fire coming toward her house – her reactions seemed a little unbelievable. She was slow to leave and took the time to make her bed first – she didn’t act like the fire was a big deal. This was the only time though where her reactions seemed a bit off. Once Claudette got onto the boat to England though, the story took off and was phenomenal.
You can visit Christine Trent’s website here.
5 out of 5 stars.
Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court