Friday, June 08, 2007
The Lacemaker and the Princess
Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. 2007. The Lacemaker and the Princess. 199 pages.
What happens when a lacemaker meets and befriends a princess? A whole lot if its set in France on the verge of the Revolution. Meet Isabelle. She is an eleven-year-old girl. Her grandmother and mother are lacemakers. Just like she is a lacemaker. This work--is part of her heritage. Life isn't easy. Her grandmother (grand-mere) is bossy and critical. But it is her grand-mere's nature that sends Isabelle on her fateful trip to the palace of Versailles.
"When the Princess of Lamballe's lace was ready, Grand-mere decided that I should deliver it. Not because I was responsible--I was not, as she often reminded me. Not because she trusted me--she did not, as I well knew. It was because I was worthless, because Grand-mere had been more than usually unhappy about the lace I'd made the previous day, and because one of the very minor nobles had ordered ten yards of lace--a vast amount--that was to be picked up today, and it wasn't finished." (1)
Although Isabelle dreamed of meeting the Queen--Marie Antoinette--no one in her family thought she actually would meet her. It happened quite by chance. At a time when Isabelle needed a helping hand--needed a savior--the Queen just happened to be there. (The poor girl was almost trampled to death in a crowd. The Queen was amused with Isabelle and took her to meet her daughter. And thus begins an unusual friendship.
Can two people from such vastly different backgrounds ever truly be friends? Can the royal family ever understand what it means to be on the verge of starvation and homelessness? Can they ever be sympathetic to the peasants? Isabelle learns when to speak up and when to keep her mouth shut. After all, asking too many questions can get you into trouble.
Can this "lacemaker" of the princess save herself and her family from all the danger that is brewing in France?