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Mademoiselle revolution
2022
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Library Journal Review
DEBUT A young biracial heiress who has avoided thinking about the plight of enslaved Black people around her in the French colony of Saint-Domingue--her people--discovers a talent for behind-the-scenes politics when she flees the Haitian Revolution for France. Sylvie de Rosiers, the daughter of a long-dead enslaved Black woman and a white coffee plantation owner, is caught between two worlds. Not fully accepted by Saint-Domingue society but, nevertheless, leading a privileged life, she flees the 1791 overthrow of the French regime in Haiti only to find herself again in danger, from the even more violent French Revolution. She meets Robespierre and his mistress, Cornélie Duplay, and becomes active in the first stirrings of the French Revolution. At first, Sylvie is mostly concerned with keeping her dark skin out of the island sun and making a good marriage match, but she has to grow up fast. VERDICT A richly imagined work of historical women's fiction incorporating themes of diversity and equality very relevant today, this thrilling debut will give book clubs much to discuss.--Laurie Cavanaugh
Publishers Weekly Review
Sivak's resonant debut features a woman trapped between two worlds during the Haitian and French revolutions. Sylvie de Rosiers, 18, has lived with her father's family in the French colony of Saint-Domingue since her enslaved mother died in childbirth. Though her father has accepted her as his only daughter and ensured she was well educated, Sylvie knows she will never be fully accepted in society. Her hopes for marriage to a biracial man are diminished when she flees the island for Paris during the slave revolt that leads to independence. The undercurrent of rebellion resonates throughout France as Sylvie is drawn to Maximilien Robespierre and his quest for equality. As Sylvie discovers acceptance in Max's circle, which includes his mistress, Cornélie Duplay, she and Cornélie explore their mutual attraction in secret. Sylvie becomes immersed in her role as a revolutionary, working with Max's brother, Augustin, for the Robespierres' cause. But as the revolution rages on, no one seems immune from the guillotine, leaving Sylvie to fear for her safety and that of her friends. Sivak expertly depicts Sylvie's growing consciousness of the oppressed and of the revolution's contradictions. Readers will be hooked. Agent: Amy Bishop, Dystal, Goderich, and Bourret. (Aug.)
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