The Lacemaker and the Princess

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Paperback, 2009


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Call number

J Br 1788 FR


Margaret K. McElderry Books (2009), Edition: Reprint, 208 pages


In 1788, eleven-year-old Isabelle, living with her lacemaker grandmother and mother near the palace of Versailles, becomes close friends with Marie Antoinette's daughter, Princess Therese, and finds their relationship complicated not only by their different social class but by the growing political unrest and resentment of the French people.

Local notes

France - History

User reviews

LibraryThing member sensitivemuse
I thought this was a great novel for younger readers who are about to be introduced to the history of the French Revolution. It’s fitting for younger readers, as the main character and narrator is a child.

Isabelle’s naivete really shows, she’s happy to be a playmate of the Princess and
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prefers to be there instead of back at the shop making lace while her Grandmother makes snide comments, and her mother who is sick also tries to help out (with little success). Isabelle doesn’t really realize the severity of the situation happening in France until her brother points it out. Then as the story develops, Isabelle’s eyes open and they do see what’s really happening outside of the palace. Isabelle also gets another reality check when she comes home to find it in disrepair

I had no sympathies for the Grandmother, she was mean and although it’s true that earning money was the main focus and priority, she belittled Isabelle and her mother and didn’t treat them so nice. To me, she was just a bitter old woman who needed an attitude adjustment.

The plot was well written and an easy read. I liked the relationship between the Princess and Isabelle. The Princess does shed a few secrets of her own, mostly on how she feels about her mother, the Queen (Marie Antoinette). Although she might act like a typical Princess, spoiled, selfish, and self centered. She’s also a young girl who just needs a bit of love, care, and decent friends who are not friends with her just because of her title and status. I thought Isabelle was a good friend, who not only was supportive and caring but also gave the Princess an eye opener or two about how life was really like out there outside of the palace.

Overall, it’s a great novel for younger readers to introduce them to this aspect of history. Those who love historical fiction will also enjoy reading this quick read.
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LibraryThing member bimrich
Isabelle (Bella) only 10, poverty with mother and grandmother, brother George in stables, Versailles, Princess Therese, friend Ernestine, Marie Antoinette, leading to revolution, General Lafayette, friendship survive, given ring by Queen, use to go to England
LibraryThing member cablesclasses
To be fly on the walls in Versailles right before the French Revolution would prove to be an interesting tale---allowing the world to truly know the Marie Antoinette. Was she only concerned with fashion and court or did her family mean something to her? Bradley’s tale allows us to be a fly
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through the eyes of a child lacemaker, Isabelle, hired to be a playmate of the Queen’s daughter Princess Therese. This historical fiction allows the reader to come to understand the differences between the working classes and royalty. Destitute and completely reliant upon patronage, the lacemakers work from dusk to dawn to make their means. In stark contrast are the royals at Versailles who seem to want for nothing and yet have everything. Isabelle’s plausible role is clarified in the author’s note, which explains some of the main events during the French Revolution and the royals’ lifestyle.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
Isabella is a lacemaker. She lives with her mother and grandmother near Versailles, where all of the lace they make ultimately ends up.
One day, as Isabella is delivering lace to the palace, Queen Marie Antoinette sees her and takes a liking to her. She arranges for Isabella to be a playmate for her
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daughter, the princess. What develops is an odd relationship. Therese, the princess, really does value Isabella's friendship, but at the same time never forgets the difference in their stations in life. Isabella's relationship with the princess and the queen make life easier for her family, but France is on the cusp of revolution, and life for the royals is about to get much harder.
Three quarters of the book are focused on the story of the difficulties of Isabella's family, and her curious friendship with Princess Therese. The last quarter merges this with a good deal of French history, as the nobles are overthrown in the French Revolution. A little uneven, but a well told tale all the same.
The queen, Marie Antoinette, is portrayed a bit differently than I have always imagined her. But Bradley did her research well. She portrays the queen as she was... flaws and strengths together.
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Original language


Physical description

208 p.; 5.13 inches


1416985832 / 9781416985839


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