Book review: Murder on the Quai – I love France 194

Murder on the Quai

Murder on the quai

Author:
Cara Black
Publisher:
Soho Crime

US Release date:
June 14, 2016
Pages:
336
ISBN:
9781616956783
also available as ebook
Genre:
Mystery/crime fiction

Goodreads

     

     MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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I have already listened to several mysteries by Cara Black. They are very enjoyable, each one taking place in a different neighborhood of Paris. So it was thrilling to receive a free copy of Murder on the Quai at BEA, her latest volume in the series. It is a very special book, as it is actually the prequel to the whole series.
Click to continue reading

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I love France #53: Book review: The Lavender Garden

I LOVE FRANCE!

I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.

*******

The Lavender Garden

by

Lucinda RILEY

416 pages

Publication date:  June 11, 2013, by Atria Books

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received a free e-copy of this book
from 
Atria Books/Simon & Schuster
via
Edelweiss,
in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post,
and the thoughts are my own.
The publisher link above will take you to a site
where you can purchase a copy.*

Lavender Garden

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France    hf-reading-challenge-2013

New Authors 2013 Whats in a name 6

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

Rating system

And another Eiffel Tower under gorgeous and well-deserved fireworks for this book on France!

Now: take a young woman, trying to figure out who her family really was, where they are coming from, as she witnesses the death of her mother.

Choose also 2 countries, France and England, 2 different time periods, Second World War and the 1990s. Then at one point get these 2 groups of people to connect. Add to that a garden where dangerous secrets are buried [beware, there can be more to lavender than the beautiful fields in Provence], plus richly characterized people, some linked with elements of romance. Don’t forget some gothic points à la Rebecca, in a big old château, and oh of course the central role played by a book in The Lavender Garden.
What’s the result? If you had not read the title of this post, I bet you would have answered: a book by Kate Morton. And you are right, it could absolutely be.

The neat thing is that this book is as beautifully intricate as Morton’s books, but was written by ANOTHER talented historical novelist (the more the merrier, let them come!), coming from Ireland this time, not Australia.

I absolutely LOVED this book, with its focus on the French Resistance and the tough women part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive mission.

I loved the real depth of the young and old characters, how their much-layered inner conflicts were conveyed, as they are set in death and life situations. I loved the old French château (built in 1750) and its library, and its connection to the plot.

I loved some funny quirky images – see examples in the Quotations section here below.

I wanted to “kick in the b*” Emilie, just like what I wanted to do to Rebecca’s narrator. But then, she actually grows in a lovely way throughout the novel, inspired by the heroism of her ancestors.

Even though I could guess most of the upcoming twists and turns, it was still extremely enjoyable. If you like historical novels set in France during Second World War, this book is a must.

QUOTATIONS

  • “[Emilie] gazed out the window at the wisps of cloud suspended like uncooked meringues in the blue sky.”   p.1
  • “The July evening was excruciatingly hot, and Connie, in the tight-fitting bodice of her emerald-green evening dress, felt like a trussed-up chicken put on too warm a setting in the oven.”  p.114

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

The internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House takes readers from Nazi-occupied Paris to the contemporary glamor of the Cote D’Azur in an emotionally gripping novel of love, duty, and desire. With her dazzling novels The Orchid House and The Girl on the Cliff, Lucinda Riley effortlessly transported readers between distant times and locations and earned accolades from reviewers and readers around the world. In The Lavender Garden, her most powerful novel so far, she tells the mesmerizing tale of heroism and betrayal inside an aristocratic French family across half a century.

La Cote d’Azur, 1998: In the south of France, Emilie de la Martinières finds herself the sole inheritor of her childhood home, a magnificent chateau and vineyard. With the house comes a mountain of debt—and almost as many questions: What was the purpose of the secret room she finds hidden beneath the wine cellars? Why did her beloved father never speak of his decorated service in Word War II? Why has Emilie always felt at odds with her own family background?

Paris, 1944: A British office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is sent to Paris to be part of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive during the climax of the Nazi occupation. Separated from the Resistance, she stumbles into a socially prominent family who entertains members of the German elite even as they plot to liberate France. In a city rife with collaborators and Resistance members, 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 chateau itself may provide clues that can unlock the mysteries of her past, present, and future. [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland and during her childhood traveled extensively abroad, particularly to the Far East to visit her father.

Moving to London she became an actress working in film, theater and television. Five years ago she designed and built a house on the island of Koh Chang in Thailand, where her father had purchased land many years before. Her passion for history combined with her love of travel, and Thailand in particular, inspired her to write her novel Hothouse Flower, published by Penguin in November 2010.

She currently lives in Norfolk and France with her husband and four children.

REVIEWS BY OTHER BLOGGERS

Lazyday
Goodreads readers

* Thanks to Lisa at Just Another Rabid Reader for inspiring me to add these lines and for sharing her own template. This is one of the multiple fruit of book blogger collaboration during Armchair BEA!

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HF NOVEL
SET IN FRANCE IN WWII?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

***

Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)

Thanks!

I Love France #37: (2012) #62 review: The Siren of Paris

I LOVE FRANCE!

I plan to publish this meme every Thursday.
You can share here about any book
or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !
Feel free to grab my button,
and link your own post through Mister Linky,
at the bottom of this post.

*******

The Siren of Paris

by

David LeROY

335 pages

Published by David Tribble Publishing in July 2012

Paperback received via
Book promotion Services

Siren of Paris

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

  

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

A few weeks ago, I posted an excerpt of this very good historical novel. Time to review it and give you even more the desire to read it, as it is really worth it.

I have to say I was rather confused by the first chapter, and wondered what I had got myself into, but as I had promised to be part of this Tour, I persevered and read chapter 2, and I’m so glad I did!

In Chapter 1, Marc appears as a ghost, as a priest remembers all the dead of WWII in a prayer service at a cemetery, with weird stuff, ” the body of his soul” (really??), changing colors, etc.

BUT it all makes sense when you reach the end of the book, and in between, there’s nothing of that.

It is a very poignant story of what happened to Marc, a French born American medical student, during WWII in France, with his choices and their consequences, his relationships, with friends? traitors? enemies? in the world of French Resistance.

It is indeed a lot about relationships, on how to know whom to trust, and on forgiveness and letting go; on survival, and what you do with your life then: do you feel guilty you survived? Do you offer your life for others?

Let me highlight a few things I really like:

  • starting at chapter 13: I like the way the story accelerates, with shorter stories for everyday, presented more like a journal, in different places, for the main protagonists of the story. It’s a great way to show how some tried to cope with the situation, how some fled, by plane, by train, by boat, etc.
  • chapter 14: it captures extremely well the frantic fears on a boat preparing to live Italy in the US – remember, there are lots of dangerous things in the water in between, sharks of course, but also submarines…
  • chapter 22: the back and forth is stunning here between Marc’s boat fate, and Marc’s activity with the Resistance later.
  • chapter 31: a powerful rendering of Marc’s nightmares.
  • chapter 41: amazing mix of memories, fears, nightmares, and reality, in all its madness.
  • chapter 45: “We become our decisions over time. We choose to love, or we can choose to hate. We can choose to forgive, or we can choose to take revenge; to have hope, or we can choose to fall into despair. But, regardless, we become our choices we make over time.” p. 318

And just a few things I would object to:

  • there are lots of historical people on the book. In chapter 8, featuring a visit to Germany, I was really expecting to see The American ambassador Dodd mentioned (see In The Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson). He wasn’t.
  • chapter 39: one little weird language thing. The guards are going through the cells, looking for a man called Renee. The French form Renée is for women. René is for men.
  • chapter 40: ‘Bon chance’ does not exist in French. Chance being a feminine word, it reads ‘bonne chance’. I have to say, it is very exceptional to find so few French mistakes in books on France written in English! Bravo!
  • chap 44: was the Paris neighborhood ever spelled Ménilomontant? I am only aware of Ménilmontant.

So to sum up, if you are interested in France, WWII, the French Resistance, you really have to read this book.

Do not cringe at the fact that it is self-published: it is great writing and good editing, with very few French mistakes even, as I mentioned above. This is the perfect example illustrating the fact that sometimes, self-published books can be of a high quality. And I expect to see more and more self-published books of that caliber.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Born in Paris and raised in the United States, 21-year-old Marc Tolbert enjoys the advantages of being born to a wealthy, well-connected family.. Reaching a turning point in his life, he decides to abandon his plans of going to medical school and study art in Paris. In 1939, he boards a ship and heads to France, blissfully unaware that Europe — along with the rest of the world — is on the brink of an especially devastating war.

When he arrives at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, more ominous signs surface. There are windows covered with tape, sandbags shielding the fronts of important buildings, whispers of Parisian children leaving the city, and gas masks being distributed. Distracted by a blossoming love affair, Marc isn’t too worried about his future, and he certainly doesn’t expect a Nazi invasion of France.

Marc has a long journey ahead of him. He witnesses, first-hand, the fall of Paris and the departure of the French government. Employed by an ambassador, he visits heads of state, including the horribly obese gray-haired Mussolini and the charismatic Hitler. He witnesses the effects of the tightening vise of occupation, first-hand, as he tries to escape the country. He also participates in the French resistance, spends time in prison camps, and sees the liberation of the concentration camps. During his struggles, he is reunited with the woman he loves, Marie, who speaks passionately of working with the resistance. Is she working for freedom, or is she not to be trusted? [provided by Book Promotion Services]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of California, David received a BA in Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. After returning from a European arts study program, he became interested in the history behind the French Resistance during World War Two. Writing fiction has become his latest way to explore philosophical, moral and emotional issues of life. The Siren of Paris is his first novel.

You can visit him at http://www.thesirenofparis.com/. There’s a book trailor on this page as well, and extra material.

I got David LeRoy’s picture on Elizabeth Caulfield Felt’s Blog. I highly recommend you to go and visit this post, in which she interviews the author! You will see how much research he put in his novel.

Additional Info:  You can purchase The Siren of Paris from Amazon — http://www.amazon.com/The-Siren-Paris-David-LeRoy/dp/0983966710/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 — for more information about this virtual book tour, and to read other reviews, please visit — http://bookpromotionservices.com/2012/05/22/siren-of-paris-tour/

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK YET?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE HISTORICAL NOVEL ON WWII?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS  IN A COMMENT PLEASE

***

Just a reminder guys:
If you link your own post on France,
please if possible
include the title of the book or topic in your link:
name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):
example : me @ myblog (Camus)
Thanks!