May Book Group Read: Meet Marie-Grace

Thank you so much for being patient everyone!  Everything is going fine here, or as well as can be expected.  I did have a nice, relaxing Thursday since my car was in the shop being worked on and I got caught up on a few things, including finishing the book!

I am ashamed to admit that I’ve had this book in my possession for nearly 3 years and I’d never read it.  This was part of my incentive to start the book group, I have a few more that I haven’t read as well as many others I don’t own, and I wanted to change that.  And am I ever glad!  I totally loved this book and I was very disappointed when I got to the end of it.  So much so, that I’m going to look on Amazon for the rest of the series, I enjoyed it that much.

Meet Marie-Grace caught my attention from the very beginning.  I’ve always been interested in New Orleans culture and after taking several years of French in school, it was fun seeing how the language fit in to the story line.  Another part I thought that was very good and very informative was the part about the blacks who weren’t slaves, the “free people of color”.  I liked how the subject was brought up and how it was explained.  I can honestly say that I don’t ever remember learning about the subject in my school history classes and given our current social climate, I think it’s an excellent lesson to be taught.

And then there was Lavinia.  I much preferred the way they handled the situation with her as opposed to the antagonist in Isabelle.  They made her the appropriate amount of annoying without it dominating the storyline.  As I read of the encounters and her attitude, I felt as though she was Marie-Grace’s version of Nellie Olsen from the Little House On The Prairie stories.  All that was missing was her horrible little brother!  (Shhhh, don’t tell me if he turns up later.)

The budding friendship between Marie-Grace and Cecile was fun to read about, particularly the part about the ball and their little bit of mischief.  I also liked the descriptions of the market and the school.  I felt completely immersed in the culture and could picture the scenes vividly in my head.

The only part I didn’t like about this book?  That it came to an end too soon!!!  I was ready to keep reading, and I guess I will just have to get the rest of them so I can.  I completely enjoyed the book and look forward to hearing more of the adventures of Marie-Grace and Cecile.  It’s a shame that these dolls didn’t catch on because it was such a fun story with a lot of valuable, but not commonly written about history involved.

Did you enjoy Meet Marie-Grace?

The book for June is Lea and July is Meet Rebecca.  I’m going to try my best to get the post up on June 15th as is customary, but it may be delayed as we now have our hands very full with a 2nd house!  Fingers crossed that once we get to a certain point, it won’t be too bad, but we have a lot of preparations and such that need to be done before we put it on the market.  Thanks everyone for understanding!

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8 thoughts on “May Book Group Read: Meet Marie-Grace

  1. Nellie came to my mind as well as I was reading about Lavenia. Considering the age group the book is intended for, this could be the first knowledge of the history of slavery in this country. It would make a great starting off point for a discussion. As I am reading more of the American Girl books, I find I am enjoying the historical ones better than the modern day ones. The use of leeches seems gross, but they are still used today. My sister works in the pharmacy department of a large hospital and they have leeches that are used for certain treatments.

    • Yes, I thought the leeches were an interesting addition! I think many people only associate them with medieval medicine too. They are interesting little creatures though and I know they are very useful in helping regenerate new skin tissue in certain procedures. Who would have thought?

  2. I felt exactly the same way about Lavinia. That’s what growing up on Little House can do; give us great points of connection.

    Meet Marie-Grace was a great read. I liked the character development of Marie-Grace as she grew more comfortable in her new old home. Relearning and remembering things. She was shy one moment and embarrassed easily; then when she had to assist her dad she became confident.

    Like you I feel the book ended too quickly. We were learning a lot about New Orleans. Not quite as much as I had hoped would be woven into the actual story, but I loved that section after.

    It was really nice that the author insisted on letting the reader know about the use of French terms and the glossary at the back.

    Something that recently occurred to me while thinking about the story was the moving. I think Marie-Grace’s dad was trying to get away from his wife’s ghost. he tried going north, but it wasn’t working so decided to return to her home city. Very touching.

    [Side note: Our review will be up tomorrow. The girls really liked this one too. They are really happy you made us read it sooner than putting it off even longer.]

    • Interesting observation about her dad! I never thought about that, but it’s a very good point. I definitely need to get the rest of the books in the series.

  3. Loved Meet Marie-Grace! I read Meet Cecile last year and loved it. It was so much fun to read about events from Marie-Grace’s perspective this time. I’m really glad that our library didn’t have the book, and that I now own the whole series.

    This series opened up a whole world for me. I had no idea that there were well-to-do, prominent “free people of color” anywhere in the US in the 1850s. I was first introduced to AG through Kirsten, and her stories of being an immigrant and settling the Midwest in 1854. It was astonishing to realize that in 1853 New Orleans was fully established. I find the differences in American history and lifestyle in these two locations (Minnesota and New Orleans), during the same time frame, to be so interesting.

    The characters are very likeable. I think one of my favorite parts was when Marie-Grace and Cecile were discussing America vs. New Orleans when they first met. That was a fun moment in the book for me.

    The author was very good at conveying emotions. I found myself empathizing with Marie-Grace throughout the book. When Cecile danced at the party and Marie-Grace found out and how upset she was, I cringed for her. Then when Marie-Grace took on some of Cecile’s courage and boldness, danced herself and invited others to join in, I cheered.

    I really enjoyed this book, and am enjoying the whole series. I think this might be one of my favorite AG series.

    • I’m with you, I think it’s my new favorite. It has even passed up Kit! (which I didn’t think was possible). I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series, and I may look and see what other books in the other lines were written by this particular author.

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