*** stars This story is set in 1975 France. A young book editor starts receiving letters shortly after the death of her mother. They slowly tell the story of events just before and during World War II. At first she believes the letters are from an author who wants to get his book read and has used them as a strategy to bring his work to her attention. Gradually she begins to wonder if the stories relate to her own life. The author keeps you reading to find out what happens. recommend.
The story unfolds slowly, layer by layer, spanning generations and time. It is told by various characters in turn, and the author skillfully switches between them while keeping the tension taut. It is a sensitive story covering love, betrayal, infertility, surrogate ties, the meaning of motherhood, all against the backdrop of the second World War. There are passages with fairly intimate descriptions of sex, so this is appropriate for adults, not teens.
This was a fast, suspenseful read - well written but also frustrating. That's probably a bit unfair since this book does what says on the packet (if you find something a bit French, and you're the one who picked up the book by a French author, set in France, then who's to blame!?) but I found the central male characters, integral to the plot (and there's a LOT of plot) were just a shade too bland to make me care. Maybe that was intentional? The women are on the edge, no-one's happy and there's genuine craziness lurking - to another reader these could be major pluses. I was also hoping for a lot more 1970s Paris detail in Camille's story which is set in 1974... Hopes dashed. However, anyone who loves a story with clandestine love affairs, World War II settings, and secret identities revealed at last, will enjoy.
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