Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak

Sometimes a book takes me by surprise. Like this one, MADEMOISELLE REVOLUTION by ZOE SIVAK. 

A story about a biracial Haitian woman who escapes to Paris when the Haitian Revolution explodes. Sylvie de Rosiers is the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, her mother is an enslaved woman. 

Sylvie and her brother Gaspard seek refuge in Paris with an aunt. Their neighbor is Cornelie Duplay, the mistress of revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. 

First of all, a huge YES! to diverse historical fiction. Also, it sent me off to go read some things about world history that I never knew of – not just the Haitian Revolution but also the French Revolution. (I grew up in Singapore and our history lessons never went that far – but ask me about the history of Thailand and I can tell you quite a bit!). It’s 

Sylvie is a fascinating character. As a biracial woman of privilege in Haiti, she grows up in the lap of luxury while waited on by people who looked like her. In Paris, she finds herself more accepted but still on the fringes of society because of the color of her skin. She struggles to find her place in society but is also not afraid to challenge the status quo. 

There’s a lot to cover in this ambitious book. And with a story that has to do with not just one but two revolutions, there is violence and bloodshed. But I was absorbed in Sylvie’s story, her clandestine relationship with Cornelie, her role as a revolutionary. Well researched. A remarkable debut! 


One Comment

Comments are closed.