The Académie is told from three points of view: Eliza's, Hortense's, and Madeleine's. Admittedly that's a lot for me to keep up with and if you're wondering why I didn't mention Madeleine is the brief summary above, it's because she doesn't attend the boarding school. She's actually the daughter of an actress who used to be married to a French noble and she's in love with Eugène. To put it simply, her situation is complex. The romances in general are rather complex (with the exception of Caroline's beau) and I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out who would end up together. I imagine that it's not that difficult to guess, but it felt rather like a tennis match in which both players are equally as skilled (and you have no idea who will triumph in the end).
As for the flow, I will admit that I felt as if it dragged a bit in the middle--although you finally do get Madeleine to interact with Eliza, Hortense, and Caroline after that. Ultimately I feel like this is a great example of historical fiction that integrates more than just the time period into the story--if that makes sense. It deals with issues and politics during that period of time (1799) and the author spent a fair bit of time researching her characters. I'd say that The Académie is more focused on the relationship between the girls rather than the romantic aspect (although that's clearly there as well) and that if you enjoy historical fiction (and don't mind multiple points of view) you may wish to pick up a copy.
Overall Rating: ★★★★
The Académie by Susanne Dunlap
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Release Date: February 28, 2012
* Received for review via publisher and NetGalley.