Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on The Queen's Dollmaker.
Sometimes you read a book and it was exactly what you expected it to be. Sometimes you read something that goes far beyond your expectations, leaving you pleasantly surprised and thrilled with the story. The Queen's Dollmaker is absolutely one of those books.
Claudette Laurent is a native Parisienne, forced to move to London after a tragic fire takes her family and future away from her. Rather than accepting her new place in society, Claudette fights against an oppressive employer and embraces her inherited talent of dollmaking. This courageous step brings her into contact with the high society of London and eventually even the royal families of England and France.
Along with her dear friend Beatrice, Claudette soon has a booming business - which comes with a price of its own. While the thrill of making dolls for Marie Antoinette brings C. Laurent Fashion Dolls a new kind of customer, it also draws the attention of the revolutionaries of France. At a time when most people are fleeing the country, Claudette is faced with having to choose between the loyalty to her friend the Queen or her own safety.
While Claudette and her story are entirely fictional, the reader wonders how many people lived through similar events during this tumultuous time in French history. Countless lives were destroyed due to false charges, fixed trials, and mere association with the royal family. The author could have glossed over the unpleasant events of this period but instead brings a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You will find yourself filled with anxiety about the circumstances Claudette finds herself in and hope that things will turn out alright in the end. All the while, the reader knows the true results of this revolution, constantly reminded of the price a country can pay when the mob takes over.
The historical detail is what really draws you into this story, especially the inclusion of many characters who were living, breathing people whose lives were turned upside down because of their friendships with the King and Queen. Claudette is a lovely heroine, but the real beauty of this story lies in how the author infuses this fictional dollmaker into the royal court, showing how even a normal tradesperson can be caught up in the frenzy of overhauling a country.