Book Group–Meet Cecile!

It’s that time again, and this month we are going to talk about Meet Cecile.  This book is unique because it’s one of the few situations where one of the BeForever/Historical friends actually had a good bit of a story revolve around her instead of just the main character.  Yes, Julie had Ivy, Samantha had Nelly and some of the other girls had friends, but I don’t think any of them were given quite the prominence as Cecile.  I’m still sad that these girls are gone from the American Girl line too because they were both such great characters.

I was very excited to read this book as I absolutely loved Meet Marie-Grace.  What I didn’t realize is Meet Cecile was not written by the same person!!  I was surprised to learn that, but the story didn’t suffer because of it.

Meet Cecile has it’s similarities to Meet Marie-Grace in it’s setting and some of the places discussed such as the Marketplace, the place where both girls take their music lessons and some of the others, but overall, the book has a very different feel to it.  I love the use of many French words, I took several years of French in school and it was fun to see how much of it I remembered.

The family dynamic is totally different for Cecile too, she comes from a busy household with several servants and a brother who is away in Paris.  The two stories come together though with the tale of the adventure the girls have at the Children’s Ball, but told from a different perspective.  There doesn’t seem to be quite as much about the developing friendship between the two girls though, much more of Meet Cecile is devoted to her family preparing for her brother to come home from Paris.  There is also an antagonistic character, but much like the one in Meet Marie-Grace, it’s very fleeting, not like some of the ones in other books.

Meet Cecile also goes into a lot of detail about the Free People Of Color with a very interesting part of the story devoted to it, as well as a whole section in the back of the book that explains more about it.  I think this is something very relevant to what is going on in our world today, and I’m very glad that someone thought it needed discussing when they worked on the concept for these books.

Overall, I liked Meet Cecile, not quite as much as Meet Marie-Grace though.  I do have the rest of the series and will be reading it eventually.  If anyone would be interested in continuing with these books for book group later on, please let me know in the comments!

What did you think of Meet Cecile?

The book for February will be Grace, March will be Meet Felicity.  I hope everyone can get their hands on these before then and participate in the discussion!

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9 thoughts on “Book Group–Meet Cecile!

  1. I loved the parallels with the girls’ stories: settings and emotions. The differences were clear too.

    It was very interesting to see the story told from two points of view. With the other best friend books there isn’t that kind of overlap (I’ve read Ruthie’s and Ivy’s.)

    With regards to the history, when I first read Cecile mention “people of color” I thought that was an error a more modern term. The phrase/term has been around a lot longer than we may think. that’s another reason I loved this book it made me think, re-evaluate, and learn.

    I’ve always understood that New Orleans was a special place. This puts it in a much different light. If accurate, the city was much more enlightened and accepting until outsiders started moving in. (Hmm, where has that happened before?) Yes, there was still a class system and separation, but it seems it may have been more civilized before.

    I’m getting our review post ready for tomorrow.

    I don’t think I have all the books in this series. for some reason I think I just have the Meets. Will have to check my private and public libraries – actually I think I have all of Cecile and not all of Marie-Grace. Have read one of Cecile’s mysteries too.

    • I have to agree with you on the educational side of the free people of color. I can honestly say I don’t remember ever learning anything about this in school. Glad to see it be addressed!

  2. I enjoyed this book. I liked reading the girls’ interactions from both points of view. What surprised me was that the book mentioned that some free people of color owned slaves. I would like to read more of the books in this series.

    Flo, while I will miss your frequent doll posts, I am excited for you in your new endeavor.

    • I think they did an excellent job of telling the story from both points of view. I’d be curious to know how much the two authors interacted with each other while developing the stories within each book? And yes, I too was surprised that some free people of color owned slaves, I did not expect that at all.

      Thanks so much Maggie! I’m still around, just trying to wear multiple hats at the moment. I did make the decision to close my other blog, not just due to all of this other stuff, but I’d really lost interest in it. I’m not to that point here, just need to figure out the balance.

    • How are her books? I’m hesitant because the things I thought were wonderful about the original book series, illustrations and look back at, were removed.

      • Very very good. Both Maryellen and Nanea’s books are top notch. Nanea’s book seems almost too relevant given Hawaii, North Korea, etc. Kirby Larson has a lot of writing experience in the WW2 period.

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