Monday, March 8, 2010

Review of The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott

The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott
Eugenie has lead a privileged life growing up in Paris and the surrounding area. Her father, Sebastien de Boncouer, was the Marquis of Chauvais, and her brother, Armand, is a law student and heir to the estate of Chauvais. She and her brother came under the guardianship of Comte Lefaurie of Haut-Bois, a wealthy count, after their father’s death. However, now that the French Revolution is raging, the lives of all aristocrats are in danger. Many of them flee the country or go into hiding to avoid being beheaded. Eugenie is taken by her brother to live with a milliner in Paris. What she does not know is that she has been promised in marriage by Comte Lefaurie to the wealthy but evil Raoul Goullet, or Le Fantome, who is a sympathizer of the revolution. He is seeking revenge on her family because of gambling debts he had to pay to her father. Eugenie must eventually try to escape France to live with her uncle in England, but Le Fantome is not far behind!

This wonderful historical fiction novel was a real page-turner to the very end. It is filled with romance, intrigue, and espionage. The novel was very well-researched, and the characters were extremely well-developed. Eugenie changes from a girl who has only been concerned with materialistic things to one who deeply cares about those who are less fortunate. There is a list of both real and fictional characters in the front of the book, and I found this list really helpful and referred to it over and over. There is also a historical note which explains the events of the French Revolution and a French Revolution timeline in the back of the book. I highly recommend this novel for middle school, high school, and public libraries!