I received a free copy of The Lavender Garden from Atria Books for my honest review.
About the Book:
An aristocratic French family, a legendary château, and buried secrets with the power to destroy two generations torn between duty and desire.
La Côte d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinières, the last of her gilded line, inherits her childhood home, a magnificent château and vineyard. With the property comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions . . .
Paris, 1944: A bright, young British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent undercover to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from her contacts in the Resistance, she soon stumbles into the heart of a prominent family who regularly entertain elite members of the German military even as they plot to liberate France. But in a city rife with collaborators and rebels, Constance’s most difficult decision may be determining whom to trust with her heart.
As Emilie discovers what really happened to her family during the war and finds a connection to Constance much closer than she suspects, the château itself may provide the clues that unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. Here is a dazzling novel of intrigue and passion from one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.
Note to readers: In the UK, this book is published under the title The Light Behind the Window.
About the Author:
Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House and The Girl on the Cliff. Born in Ireland, she now lives in the English countryside and in France with her husband and four children
This is my third book by Ms. Riley and I was quite excited to be offered it for review. I very much enjoyed the first two of her books that I read, The Orchid House and The Girl on the Cliff. This book moves back and forth in time between WWII occupied France and England and 1998 France as a young woman, the last of a very long line of French nobility comes to grips with her history.
WWII (and WWI) novels are quite the rage right now and that is probably a good thing as the people who lived through that time are passing and if the horrors of age are not remembered they will be repeated. I suspect that much like I was not taught much about the Civil War in school, today’s students are not taught much about the World Wars. They are ancient history to this generation of kids. They don’t have grandfathers who tell stories of the battles. Their grandfathers fought in Korea or Viet Nam or perhaps not at all.
Emilie is not, at least at first, the most compelling of heroines. It took me a bit to warm up to her but once I did I found myself quite engrossed in the story. She knew nothing of her family’s history nor of herself. She was a child of a self centered mother and a distant father. What she learned and how she learned it changed her and made her stronger.
Ms. Riley is brilliant at weaving history into her characters’ lives without making her reader feel as if she is in a classroom. She sets a scene beautifully and when lost in the writing the reader can almost believe they are there too. This book was a bit slow in the beginning for me so I didn’t like it as much as the others I’ve read from Ms. Riley but once it started into the backstory I was hooked.