Posted in Books I have read

A Week in Paris – Rachel Hore

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction
4*’s

Rachel Hore has produced another complex and historically accurate tale set in the iconic capital city of France where just the mention of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile gives the readers a visual hook for the rest of this turbulent tale of a young woman facing seemingly insurmountable situations purely by virtue of the time and place she is living in.

Fay is an accomplished violinist who first travels to Paris during her teens and despite her mother, Kitty’s reservations, she relents and lets her daughter go. While there Fay has a frightening incidence of deja vue which disturbs her because she knows she has never visited France before.

Years later her mother’s sadness over the death of Fay’s father at times appear to overwhelm her and this is only compounded now that Fay has left home and is on the verge of travelling to Paris once again, this time as a second violinist in an orchestra for a week long event. With her early life shrouded in mystery Fay is shocked when she is given the task of visiting the convent where her mother had stayed when she was a pupil at the conservatoire in Paris and she seizes the opportunity to find out more about her mother and her own childhood.

With most of the story set in Paris, in 1961 and earlier during World War II Rachel Hore has written an intertwined tale, Fay’s ‘present’ is narrated by herself as she begins to trace her mother’s footsteps while Kitty’s story is told mainly through the eyes of an old friend Nathalie which brings to life the reality of living in Paris during the troubled years of the war years.

I really enjoyed Kitty’s story, it was easy to lose myself in this part of the story and believe the events as they were described my only criticism was that this central story didn’t start until quite a way through the book but once it began I almost resented returning to Fay’s present day story. In addition to the fascinating story of Kitty’s life there is an element of romance told in keeping with the time period the women live in. The theme of friendship is strong in Kitty’s story with the need to know who could be trusted imperative when living under the rule of the Germans but for friendship is on the periphery of her story as she begins to uncover the truth about her early life which is very different to the story she has been told by her mother, it is up to the reader to judge if this was the right decision to make.

I love historical fiction particularly those stories where the past has an impact on later generations but only when they are researched and written in a believable way; Rachel Hore achieves this and at the same time bought to life a time and place that is far removed from my own. I admired the young Kitty and by the end of the book understood why when we first meet her she is in hospital following a ‘nervous breakdown.’ Fay was a more elusive character and as is often the case in these dual time-line stories, had the lesser storyline although the story in the past became her story too. I would recommend this book to lovers of well-written historical fiction.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the publishers Simon & Schuster UK for allowing me to read this book in return for my honest review. A Week in Paris will be published on 9 October 2014 perfectly timed for reading while wrapped up in the warm as the nights draw in.

Over the years I have read and enjoyed each one Rachel Hore’s previous books and if you look closely at the header of this blog you will see some of the copies sat upon my bookshelf – my favourite is The Glass Painters Daughter, a book that I still remember in detail despite last reading it quite a few years ago.

Previous books by Rachel Hore

The Dream House
Kate stumbles upon the house of her dreams, a beautiful place, full of memories, it is tantalizingly out of her reach. Its owner is the frail elderly Agnes, whose story – as it unravels – echoes so much of Kate’s own. And Kate comes to realize how uncertain and unsettling even a life built on dreams can be – wherever you are, at whatever time you are living and whoever you are with.

The Memory Garden

When Patrick finds some old paintings in an attic,he and Mel investigate the identity of the artist, they are drawn into an extraordinary tale of illicit passion and thwarted ambition from a century ago, a tale that resonates in their own lives. But how long can Mel’s idyll last before reality breaks in and everything is threatened?

The Glass Painter’s Daughter

Zac accept a beguiling commission – to restore a shattered glass picture of an exquisite angel belonging to a local church. As they reassemble the dazzling shards of coloured glass, they uncover an extraordinary love story from the Victorian past, sparked by the window’s creation. Slowly, Fran begins to see her own reflection in its themes of passion, tragedy and redemption. Fran’s journey will lead her on a search for the truth about her mother, through mysteries of past times and the anguish of unrequited love, to reconciliation and renewal.

A Place of Secrets

As Jude untangles Wickham’s tragic story, she discovers threatening links to the present. What have Summer’s nightmares to do with Starbrough folly, the eerie crumbling tower in the forest from which Wickham and his adopted daughter Esther once viewed the night sky? With the help of Euan, a local naturalist, Jude searches for answers in the wild, haunting splendour of the Norfolk woods. Dare she leave behind the sadness in her own life, and learn to love again?

A Gathering Storm
Beatrice’s story is a powerful tale of courage and betrayal, spanning from Cornwall to London, and Occupied France, in which friendship and love are tested, and the ramifications reach down the generations.
And, as Lucy listens to the tales of the past, she learns a secret that will change everything she has ever known…


The Silent Tide


When Emily Gordon, editor at a London publishing house, commissions an account of great English novelist Hugh Morton, she finds herself steering a tricky path between Morton’s formidable widow, Jacqueline, who’s determined to protect his secrets, and the biographer, charming and ambitious Joel Richards. But someone is sending Emily mysterious missives about Hugh Morton’s past and she discovers a buried story that simply has to be told

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (October 1)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading, and thoroughly absorbed by A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore, a dual time-line novel

A Week in Paris

Blurb

The streets of Paris hide a dark past…
September, 1937. Kitty Travers enrols at the Conservatoire on the banks of the Seine to pursue her dream of becoming a concert pianist. But then war breaks out and the city of light falls into shadow.
Nearly twenty-five years later, Fay Knox, a talented young violinist, visits Paris on tour with her orchestra. She barely knows the city, so why does it feel so familiar? Soon touches of memory become something stronger, and she realises her connection with these streets runs deeper than she ever expected.
As Fay traces the past, with only an address in an old rucksack to help her, she discovers dark secrets hidden years ago, secrets that cause her to question who she is and where she belongs…
A compelling story of war, secrets, family and enduring love. Amazon

Revealing a totally different set of secrets was my recent read, This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport. This crime novel from written from the point of view of a local journalist during the miner’s strike in 1984.
Click on the book cover to read my review

This Little Piggy

Next I am going to read Hide and Seek by Amy Bird which has been published in three parts, the first being free on kindle.

Hide and Seek

Blurb

Nobody’s life is ever perfect. Families tell lies. People keep secrets. But the life which Will and Ellie Spears have built together is as perfect as it’s possible to be.
Until one day something is let slip. A discovery is made. And all of a sudden Ellie and Will’s life falls down, as acceptance gives way to an obsessive search for answers. Families tell lies. People keep secrets. But sometimes the truth is much more dangerous. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (September 30)

Kindle,jpg

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from A Week In Paris by Rachel Hore

A Week in Paris

Blurb

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?
1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations. NetGalley

My Teaser

Everything rang true. But if Mme Ramond was telling the truth, that made her mother dishonest and she didn’t like to think about that. And yet… if her mother was hiding secrets maybe it was for a good reason.
‘I do trust you, yes,’ she said simply.

 PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (July 25)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Happy Friday! So this week I have a few more finds that have made their way into my house. NetGalley have provided me with some wonderful books starting for The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell which I really wanted to read as this contains crimes from the past and the present.

The Girl Next Door
Blurb

When the bones of two severed hands are discovered in a box, an investigation into a long buried crime of passion begins. And a group of friends, who played together as children, begin to question their past.
‘For Woody, anger was cold. Cold and slow. But once it had started it mounted gradually and he could think of nothing else. He knew he couldn’t stay alive while those two were alive. Instead of sleeping, he lay awake in the dark and saw those hands. Anita’s narrow white hand with the long nails painted pastel pink, the man’s brown hand equally shapely, the fingers slightly splayed.’
Before the advent of the Second World War, beneath the green meadows of Loughton, Essex, a dark network of tunnels has been dug. A group of children discover them. They play there. It becomes their secret place.
Seventy years on, the world has changed. Developers have altered the rural landscape. Friends from a half-remembered world have married, died, grown sick, moved on or disappeared.
Work on a new house called Warlock uncovers a grisly secret, buried a lifetime ago, and a weary detective, more preoccupied with current crimes, must investigate a possible case of murder.
In all her novels, Ruth Rendell digs deep beneath the surface to investigate the secrets of the human psyche. The interconnecting tunnels of Loughton in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR lead to no single destination. But the relationships formed there, the incidents that occurred, exert a profound influence – not only on the survivors but in unearthing the true nature of the mysterious past. NetGalley

Next I got a copy of Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach, I have loved so many of this author’s previous books and this sounds like a real winner.

Heartbreak Hotel

Blurb

When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for.
In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast.
Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle.
But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…NetGalley

… and another book that was on my wishlist, A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore, another of my must read authors.

A Week in Paris

Blurb

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?
1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations. NetGalley

Lastly, yes only 4 from NetGalley this week, is Broadchurch by Erin Kelly. Now I didn’t watch the TV series and so I wasn’t planning on reading this book until I realised that it is written by one of my favourite authors, which you’ll know all about if you have read my rave reviews of The Burning Air and The Ties That Bind. Fortunately I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book having listened to others discussing the show.

Broadchurch

Blurb

It’s a hot July morning in the Dorset town of Broadchurch when Beth Latimer realises that her eleven-year-old son, Danny, is missing. As Beth searches desperately for her boy, her best friend, local police officer DS Ellie Miller, arrives at work to find that the promotion she was promised has been given to disreputable Scottish outsider DI Alec Hardy.
When Danny’s body is found on the beach Ellie must put her feelings aside as she works with DI Hardy to solve the mystery of Danny’s death. As the case becomes a murder investigation the news hits the national press, jolting sleepy Broadchurch into the national spotlight.
As the town’s secrets begin to unravel, members of this tight-knit community begin to consider those in their midst. Right now it’s impossible to know who to trust…NetGalley

Lastly after reading about Drawn from Memory by E.H. Shepard on Heavenali’s blog I simply had to own a copy – so I do! This autobiography of the man who illustrated my favourite childhood book, Winnie The Pooh is full of illustrations of his childhood in London towards the end of the nineteenth century. Heavenali’s description of this magical book, and later its sequel Drawn from Life is well worth a read, in fact I can confidently predict it won’t be long before you see the sequel featured here!

Drawn From Memory

Blurb

An evocative childhood memoir by the much-loved illustrator of Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. In this autobiography, E.H. Shepard describes a classic Victorian childhood. Shepard grew up in the 1880s in Saint John’s Wood with his brother and sister. He was surrounded by domestic servants and maiden aunts, in a an age when horse-drawn buses and hansom cabs crowded the streets. Recalling this time with charm and humour, Shepard illustrates these scenes in his own distinctive style. Goodreads

So go on tempt me; what have you found this week?