Riverhead. Oct. 2018. 448p. illus. ISBN 9780525534327. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781910709566. F
OrangeReviewStarWhimsy, magic, and macabre are words often used to describe the prose and illustrations of Carey (The Iremonger Trilogy), and this work of historical fiction is no exception. Anna Maria Grosholtz, aka Little, is a fatherless servant girl in the employ of a doctor with a particular skill for molding wax. Becoming his apprentice, Little moves from body parts to human heads and acquires a talent for realistic reproductions. Her ability manifests in befriending a princess, living in the Palace of Versailles, and navigating the tumultuous French Revolution. While literally shaping the heads of history with her hands, she also transforms her artistic skill into a commercial industry. Little is better known today as Madame Tussaud. Carey's vivid language and illustrations provide levity and wit within a imaginative but morbid tale of beheadings and destitution.
VERDICT A wildly creative reimagining of the work and life of an artist more associated with George Clooney than Maximilien Robespierre. Admirers of Gregory Maguire will be delighted. [See Prepub Alert, 5/4/18.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing