This book explores the life of a young lacemaker, Isabelle Bonnard, living in 18th century Versailles. Isabelle's world changes forever when she bumps into Queen Marie Antoinette and becomes the friend of her daughter, Princess Thérèse. But the changes are not all good and their unlikely friendship is soon threatened by the rise of the French Revolution.
At first I was skeptical of a book about the French Revolution being appropriate for kids if it was not entirely historically inaccurate. But I want to assure both parents and historians that the author managed to stay true to the turmoil of the period without going into too much gory detail. There is some blood but surprisingly little, all things considered, and the exact charges leveled against Marie Antoinette are very broadly described and narrated from the perspective of an eleven year old. Still, it does not in any way candy-coat the real strife of the times. There is the raiding of the Bastille and the Women's March on Versailles demanding bread. Meanwhile, the story focuses on the main character, Isabella's, struggle to stay loyal to her friend when all around her are rising up against the monarchy. It is inevitably a sad story since it is generally accurate, but it's also an engrossing page-turner (I finished it in one day)! The end felt a bit abrupt to me, but otherwise it's an excellent novel, particularly for girls into historical fiction.