Witten by Sarah Towle
Published by Time Traveler Tours, LLC
Category: Children’s nonfiction
Themes: French Revolution, murder, Charlotte Corday, jean-Pierre Marat, Guillotine
Release Date: February, 2013
Price: $ 5.99
iBook available at: Apple iTunes Store
It’s 1789 and France is on the brink of civil uprising. This iBook takes us through the economic and political turmoil that led to the revolution that transformed not just the French nation, but had worldwide repercussions. Over the next few years as the French Revolution swings into full, bloody momentum, this interactive historical drama narrated by 24-year-old, Charlotte Corday, gives a very personal twist to this historical event. Why would a noble-born convent girl abandon her family in northern France to stalk revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat? The reader will be caught up in the chaos that claimed the lives of Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, and events that rocked France forever. While in prison and awaiting execution by guillotine, Charlotte recounts her personal journey through Paris during the Reign of Terror. Leading the reader from the Palais Royal, where she bought her murder weapon, to her prison, the Conciergerie, she explains how and why she had the nerve or courage to murder radical propagandist Jean-Paul Marat while he soaked in the bath. As Charlotte tells her personal tale, interpretation and motivation, readers will be exposed to the need for change and yet the horrors of that social shift for so many. The Machiavellian question is left hanging in the air, is violence ever justified?
Why I like this book:
I have always loved history, but confess that my knowledge is based predominantly on my thirst for historical fiction. However, if historical non-fiction had been presented to me with so much interactivity and a personal slant, I may well have immersed myself so much more as a teen. This will be a thrill for historians and educators, but also for any one traveling to Paris, or armchair travelers. The multiple choice questions kept me on my toes, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interactive maps, or listening to the Marseillaise!
The iBook Beware Madame La Guillotine is currently English only. The French version will launch next with the bilingual English/French version shortly after. The app is fully bilingual so you can switch languages at the touch of a finger on the tactile screen. The iBook is being used in classrooms by language and history teachers, as well as armchair travelers.
The next story, which will be launched this summer, is about the creation of the Catacombs beneath Paris, narrated by a grave digger’s ghost. His story tells of the underground ossuary, which contains the remains of about six million people and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels that are the remains of ancient Roman quarries.
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