Spirit of Lost Angels by Liz Perrat is a historical fiction novel set during the French Revolution. The book follows the life of Victoire Charpentier, a poor peasant girl who experiences a wide array of hardships and blessings. Interwoven with Victoire’s story are the rumblings of the French Revolution. Through Victoire’s eyes the reader gets to experience the injustice, frustration, and anger that led to the revolution.
Victoire is an endearing and inspiring protagonist. All women, but especially those who are mothers, will be outraged at the abuses she suffers and jubilant at her victories. Throughout Spirit of Lost Angels Victoire meets several strong, intelligent women who help mold the resilient and successful woman she becomes. Her mother’s insistence that she learns to read and write does truly prove to raise her out of poverty.
While the novel does advocate for equality between the classes and genders, Perrat does not demonize all nobles or all men thus making the story more believable. The reader can immerse herself in the culture of pre-revolutionary France and experience the emotional and psychological conflict facing society at that time.
Literature lovers will be delighted with the rhetoric and literary elements of Spirit of Lost Angels. Perrat is a skilled writer and a very clever one too. Because of the number of literary devices she employs, this is one book you could easily read more than once—first, for the story and subsequently, to study the symbolism, motifs, and foreshadowing. Spirit of Lost Angels is one of the best written books I have read in a long time.
Sensitive readers should note that there are several explicit scenes throughout the book, some violent and some sexual. These scenes are not gratuitous; instead they play an important role in the story. However, due to the graphic nature of these scenes this book is clearly intended for an adult audience.
Overall, I give this novel 5 out of 5 stars. It is a wonderful story that is remarkably well written.
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