Review of The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette

The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette

by Bianca Turetsky

Poppy (Little, Brown and Company), 2012. 266 pages.

This book is simply fun. Not heavy, not overly philosophical, but with a bit of adventure and definite fun.

In an earlier book, The Time-Traveling Fashionista On Board the Titanic, which I haven’t read, Louise Lambert, lover of vintage clothing, tried on a dress worn on the Titanic — and traveled back to experience the voyage from the perspective of the girl who wore the dress. In this book we know by the title that she’s going to travel to the court of Marie Antoinette.

The set-up works for the book. Louise’s seventh grade French class is going to travel to Paris this summer (okay, maybe that’s a little unbelievable), but when her father’s laid off from her job, her parents tell her they can’t afford to send her. In history class, they’re talking about the French Revolution — not that I really think that’s in seventh-grade curriculum, but it’s told convincingly and Louise isn’t paying as much attention as the reader does (because of that title), so it doesn’t seem like a convenient information dump, but just enough for the reader to know what’s going on.

When she goes to another Traveling Fashionista show, she tries on a dress that takes her to Paris. She sees Marie Antoinette as a girl her own age. The events in the book take place well before the French Revolution, but the author does a good job of humanizing Marie Antoinette while making Louise think about her own life at the same time. And all the groundwork is laid for further adventures, as well as her finding out there are other time travelers out there.

Louise’s passion for vintage fashions and knowledge of historic designers makes her character all the more genuine. I read this in Advance Reader Copy form, so I didn’t see the full color art, but even the black-and-white artwork of clothes worn and palaces visited adds flavor to the book.

This has a little bit of magic, a good dose of history, and some information about vintage fashions, all thrown into a mix as much fun as playing dress-up.

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Source: This review is based on an Advance Reader Copy I got at an ALA conference.

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