Book Reviews

Review: Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak

You tell me a book about revolution, queer, and featuring a biracial heroine? I am 100% adding that book to my TBR. So when I heard about Mademoiselle Revolution, I knew I had to read it. This book is fiery, passionate, and emotional all at once. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Sylvie de Rosiers, as the daughter of a rich planter and an enslaved woman, enjoys the comforts of a lady in 1791 Saint-Domingue society. But while she was born to privilege, she was never fully accepted by island elites. After a violent rebellion begins the Haitian Revolution, Sylvie and her brother leave their family and old lives behind to flee unwittingly into another uprising—in austere and radical Paris. Sylvie quickly becomes enamored with the aims of the Revolution, as well as with the revolutionaries themselves—most notably Maximilien Robespierre and his mistress, Cornélie Duplay.

 As a rising leader and abolitionist, Robespierre sees an opportunity to exploit Sylvie’s race and abandonment of her aristocratic roots as an example of his ideals, while the strong-willed Cornélie offers Sylvie safe harbor and guidance in free thought. Sylvie battles with her past complicity in a slave society and her future within this new world order as she finds herself increasingly torn between Robespierre’s ideology and Cornélie’s love.

When the Reign of Terror descends, Sylvie must decide whether to become an accomplice while a new empire rises on the bones of innocents…or risk losing her head.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: sexism, racial slurs, racism, torture

It is no one’s surprise that Mademoiselle Revolution is an action packed book about rebellion. But truly the action will sweep you away and carry you out of Haiti and to France. Sylvie must contend not only with her complex family relationships, but also a new society in which she feels Othered. Somehow not quite belonging to any one category. As someone who is adopted, this struggle of finding a place to fit in, being marked as Other, and unsure of where we belong – resonated with me. What I loved was how Mademoiselle Revolution explores being a biracial heroine.

Of not feeling like her family accepts her and being unsure of where she belongs in society. Benefiting from the wealth and status of her slave owning father, while also being reminded of her mother’s status as a slave. Or of moving to Paris and being marked by her upbringing, even when those around her see her biracial identity clearly. Mademoiselle Revolution began by sweeping me in away in its discussions of family. What it means to us. And how we can look past what is in front of our eyes.

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But where Mademoiselle Revolution truly shines is by examining revolution and sacrifice. What we will do for change and when speaking up against injustice could cost her everything. In many ways, it’s an awakening. A process where she has to come into her own voice and power. Sylvie must ask herself how far she will go to be respected, to have respect. With unexpected paths crossing, fancy promises, how do we acknowledge our privilege while also speaking up. How does one balance survival with change? The ethics within bloodshed and rebellion. Balancing our own safety with the sacrifices of progress.

Find Mademoiselle Revolution on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite historical fiction book with a revolution?

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