Isabelle’s mother and grandmother are sure that their fortune will be made when they receive an order for lace from the Princess of Lamballe. Isabelle and her family work hard to make lace for rich people, but they are hardly paid enough to survive on. They hope that profitable contracts with the royal family can help them to make ends meet.
As chance has it Isabelle is almost crushed by a mob of courtiers. When Marie Antoinette notices and saves Isabelle from the crowd it is the start of a very unusual relationship between Isabelle and the royal family. Marie Antoinette introduces Isabelle to her daughter, the princess Therese. Marie feels that her daughter needs to have associates from the lower classes so that she learns to appreciate them.
Soon Therese and Isabelle have formed a friendship that will have many twists and turns. On the one hand Therese is proud and slightly haughty, used to getting her own way in everything. She even changes Isabelle’s name because she feels that it is too common. However, in talking with Therese, Isabelle learns that the princess has a heart and worries just like anyone else.
At the same time, Isabelle’s mother and grandmother are trying to pressure Isabelle to use her new standing to promote the family’s lace wares and drum up business in the court. They want the queen to start buying lace from them.
In the midst of all that is going on another force is also approaching the French court. People across the country are beginning to grumble about the extravagant tastes and wasteful attitude of the royal family. Many of the French people are starving while the nobles waste food and spend huge sums on luxuries. Many people are even beginning to speak of a revolution.
“The Lacemaker and the Princess” was actually inspired by a real life friendship between the French princess Therese and a commoner. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has created an interesting historical piece that shows the history of the French Revolution from the royal family’s point of view. I feel that this unique story will appeal to young readers.
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