Marie, Dancing Review

Marie, Dancing
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I've been enjoying Carolyn Meyer's Young Royals series. I have book three of the aforementioned series lined up for a read, but decided to give Marie, Dancing a whirl this time. This wonderful novel is based on the Victorian work of art of Degas's controversial sculpture called The Little Dancer. This tells the story of a penniless French family and the daughters whose only hope and happiness in life is that they are students at the Paris Opera Ballet. For Marie van Goethem, being part of the Paris Opera Ballet is the best thing in her life. At home, she has an alcoholic mother and shattered dreams due to their impoverished conditions to look forward to. Her dreams of success will come with many obstacles, including endless suitors and a proposition to pose for a sculpture in order to put food on the table, but Marie will be content if at least one of her sisters, Antoinette and Charlotte, realizes her dream of becoming a dancer. There are some twists in the novel.
This is a moving and compelling story of a young woman who will do anything to help her family and get them through their difficult times. Marie is such a fighter for someone so young. The descriptions of their conditions and the struggles with an alcoholic mother are quite vivid here. Marie's outcome is a realistic one that makes the reader wonder if a person of limited means could rise above the social and financial obstacles and succeed in life or if you're destined for a life of misery or mediocrity at best. It also makes the reader wonder if, despite the aforementioned obstacles, you can succeed in changing your life if you put your mind and determination to it. Meyer took a quite a famous and controversial sculpture (or at least it was controversial when it was first exhibited in 1881) and created a warm, poignant, albeit hopeful story that is beautiful and compelling as well as eloquent and enthralling. This is a young adult book set during the Victorian era targeted for teens between the sixth and ninth grades, but adults could enjoy this as well. I know I loved it! The author has great talent with historical novels and I shall continue to give her stuff a whirl and then pass her work to my niece so that she could read a good story and learn something at the same time.

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