The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott (Published in the US by Holiday House, November 28, 2009, and in the UK by Hodder Books, July 2, 2009)
Although orphaned at a young age, fourteen-year-old Eugenie de Boncoeur has never known much hardship. Raised by a wealthy guardian, her life is carefree. She is more concerned with parties and dresses than the growing unrest around her. But in July 1789, she is suddenly and violently made aware when the French Revolution begins.
Eugenie is sent to a convent for her own safety, but even there she cannot escape the violence. And she soon learns that she is in danger from more than just the hatred the revolutionaries have for aristocrats like Eugenie and her family. Her guardian has betrothed her to a mysterious man named the Pale Assassin, a man who wants to marry her to get revenge for a wrong he feels her father committed against him years ago. Eugenie attempts to flee to safety with relatives in England, chased by both revolutionaries and the sinister Pale Assassin.
I had mixed feelings about this book. It starts out a bit slow, and Eugenie was a hard character to like at first - she starts out spoiled, selfish, and immature. However, as the book progresses the story picks up pace, and Eugenie becomes more likeable as she matures and develops an awareness of the world around her. Ultimately I did get into the story and am interested to find out what happens next in the sequel, which will be published next year. This isn’t the best book I have read recently, but if you can overlook the slow start and enjoy historical fiction, I would suggest giving this book a try.