Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Book of Lost and Found – Lucy Foley

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

The year is 1986 and Kate Darling has recently lost her mother June, a world-class ballerina, in a tragic accident. Kate is struggling with her grief for the woman who she considered her best friend as well as her mother in an effort to keep her memory alive seeks solace in her mother’s saviour, Evie. Following one of their frequent meetings it becomes clear that Evie has been keeping a secret for many years and gives Kate a painting of a woman at a picnic on a summer’s day that had been sent to June many years before. Kate senses a mystery and as a means of distraction from her unfulfilling life follows its lead.

The picture was painted in 1928 by an up-and-coming artist named Tom, now an elderly man, living on the island of Corsica and Kate goes to visit him to find out more about the woman he painted. Tom reveals his side of a bitter-sweet love story that started in Hertfordshire and ended in Paris during the Second World War.

Lucy Foley has bravely included three time-periods as well as three different locations in her tale which is executed with aplomb. The characters are all distinct, all feel authentic and true to the times they are depicted, especially Tom who struggles to balance his parent’s hopes and dreams for him with his love of art. Alice was a victim of the time and family she was born into and had the added encumbrance of her sex, destined to live her life without any purpose except to become a replica of her distant mother. Having just read two books that cover the occupation of France during the Second World War there were clear signs that the author had researched the historical element to use as detail for this part of the book, effortlessly transporting the reader to the exact time and place. By using different places for each of the time periods definitely made the transition of reading easier during the switches backwards and forwards in time.

I do love a dual time frame book but only when they are done well, this device, in the wrong hands is a disaster for a number of reasons; to execute a story of this type well the characters, time and place all need to be distinct and authentic. The historical detail has to be spot-on and any of the characters that age during the transition need to be recognisable but not ‘frozen in time.’ Lucy Foley didn’t fall into any of the many pitfalls, instead managing to weave a great saga that had me engaged in the grand love story from the first page.

As with all books in this genre the continuing story through the decades depends on a number of coincidences and tortured decisions to keep both the mystery element alive so although there were times that I desperately wished that the protagonists would say, or do, something different, perhaps for once take the sensible option, it wasn’t to be! And nor could it be! Again with books of this type I often prefer either the past or the present and as is often the case, the past was more engaging but I did enjoy the way that Kate was far from irrelevant to the story, she did have a stronger part to play than simply being the narrator of the events of previous years.

If like me you are still waiting for Kate Morton to write her fifth book, you could do an awful lot worse (I should know, I’ve tried some of them) than pick up this book in the meantime.  I received my copy via Amazon Vine in return for this honest review.  The Book of Lost and Found was published by HaperCollins on 15 January 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (February 2)

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I am currently reading The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley. I’m in need of something a little uplifting at the moment and this book which promises a sweeping classic romance, and from what I’ve read so far I can’t disagree and I love a story where the narrative dives into the past to tell the tale.

The Book of Lost and Found

Blurb

In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
It’s when life started in earnest
HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928
The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening . . .
It’s when there were no happy endings
PARIS, 1939
Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more . . .
It’s when the story begins
LONDON, 1986
Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . . Amazon

I have just finished The Exit by Helen FitzGerald which features a young woman, Catherine, in her early twenties and Rose Price an elderly woman in her eighties who suffers from dementia. An intriguing read from the author of The Cry

My review will follow later this week

The Exit

Next up I am going to read Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt, the second in the DS Allie Shenton series which started with Taunting The Dead, a gritty crime novel set in Stoke-On-Trent.
Follow The Leader


Blurb

A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E.
Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing.
As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert.
The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader. Amazon

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

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 16)

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).

I’m still getting books from NetGalley and this week has bought a few interesting looking books, first up is The Exit by Helen FitzGerald . Helen FitzGerald is the author of The Cry which was possibly one of the most disturbing book I read in 2013, so when I realised there was a new book out….. well!

The Exit

Blurb

23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace contains many secrets.
One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?
As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late? NetGalley

I requested the next book based upon some wonderful reviews in the blogosphere and as St Malo is one of our favourite places to go for a weekend visit, this book had too much going for it to resist a click of that request button. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See

Blurb

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work. NetGalley

I have a copy of You Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes whose last two books are Until You’re Mine and Before You Die

You Belong To Me

Blurb

Fleeing the terrors of her former life, Isabel has left England, and at last is beginning to feel safe.
Then a letter shatters her world, and she returns home determined not to let fear rule her life any more.
But she’s unable to shake off the feeling that someone who knows her better than she knows herself may be following her.
Watching. Waiting.
Ready to step back into her life and take control all over again. NetGalley

Lastly from Amazon Vine I have a beautiful book, the picture really doesn’t do it justice and the story sounds just right to read on a cold and windy day: The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

The Book of Lost and Found

Blurb

In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
It’s when life started in earnest
HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928
The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening . . .
It’s when there were no happy endings
PARIS, 1939
Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more . . .
It’s when the story begins
LONDON, 1986
Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . . Amazon

So there are my finds! What have you found to read this week?