I'd like to start off by saying that while Madame Tussaud is not a YA novel, it's a book that can appeal to many teens (like me). My experience with historical fiction is limited, but I do have to say that Madame Tussaud is now one of my favorites.
It starts with the writing- so easy to read and matter of fact. There's never a pointless scene as in every page you learn a bit more about Marie and her world, from the Salon de Circe to Rose Bertin. It's not hard to get engrossed in the story and I often almost missed my stop when I read this book on the bus. (Seriously, that happened at least three times before I decided to stop reading on the bus.)
The story itself is very interesting. Marie is a strong woman that I easily liked and related to. She's had a really hard life and her strength always shined through. I was shocked at some of the events that took place in this novel. It's about the French revolution- something I don't know much about but I found that I learned a lot later on.
While the historical aspect of the novel was really strong, I didn't feel like it took precedence over the story. There was a masterful blend of history and fiction that made the little jumps of time feel more natural. I wasn't offset by the jumps of times (sometimes entire months passed by between chapters). At the same time, I feel like I learned a lot about the French revolution.
One of my favorite parts of the book were little passages from the actual revolution at the beginning and during the chapter. I thought it added authenticity and it reminded the reader that most of the events taking place were more or less true. I also did think a little about the characters and their motivations later on, which is always good. The more a book sticks with me, the better it is.
I'm really happy to have read this book. I kind of like that the main character, Marie, was older and not prone to all the insecurities teens usually have. I found that refreshing. There isn't much content that isn't appropriate for teens, except maybe that a lot of the stuff that happens is horrible so this isn't a light, fun read. The best compliment I can give this book is that after finishing it, I immediately decided to read every other historical fiction the author, Michelle Moran, has written.
Overall I enjoyed this book. There were many elements of it I liked, from the characters to the world, but in the end I liked it because it's the unique story of a real, strong woman and I think it's a memorable read. 4.5 stars,
**** & 1/2 *