Faces of the Dead

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Young Marie-Thérèse, daughter of Marie-Antoinette, has little interest in the formalities of court life. Fortunately Ernestine, the daughter of a palace chambermaid, looks remarkably like the princess. So, as often as possible, the girls switch places. One day, Marie-Thérèse (as Ernestine) gets the chance to ride out to Paris, where she meets Henri, a handsome young man who works at the wax museum. She also gets a little taste of the fever for revolution the common people are feeling. As Revolution reaches the palace, the switch becomes permanent. Marie-Thérèse and Henri are given the awful task of gathering the heads of the rich and powerful from the guillotine. Mademoiselle Grosholtz has been ordered to make death masks, but what else is she working on?

This description makes the book sound like historical fiction—a princess and the pauper story set in the French Revolution. And much of the book is, indeed, just that. About two-thirds of the way in, however, it takes a turn toward the truly bizarre. So don’t be expecting too much real history here (the Author’s Note maps out what details are true), but it was a wild romp through possibilities in politics and the occult.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 208 pages
Publisher Scholastic Press
Publish Date 2014-Aug-26
ISBN 9780545425315
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue November 2014
Category Young Adult


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