Thursday, 20 September 2012

Books Read: Lucinda Riley - The Light Behind The Window

The present: Emilie de la Martiniéres has always fought against her aristocratic background, but after the death of her glamorous, distant mother, she finds herself alone in the world and sole inheritor of her grand childhood home in the south of France. An old notebook of poems leads her in search of the mysterious and beautiful Sophia, whose tragic love affair changed the course of her family history. As Emilie unravels the story, she too embarks on her own journey of discovery, realising that the château may provide clues to her own difficult past and finally unlock the future.

The past: London 1943. A young office clerk, Constance Carruthers, is drafted into the SOE, arriving in occupied Paris during the climax of the conflict. Separated from her contact in her very first hours in France, she stumbles into the heart of a wealthy family who are caught up in a deadly game of secrets and lies. Forced to surrender her identity and all ties to her homeland and her beloved husband, Constance finds herself drawn into a complex web of deception, the repercussions of which will affect generations to come.

The Light Behind The Window is the story of two generations; that of a young french woman Emilie in the 1990s who has inherited the family properties following her mothers death, as well as that of her father and aunt during the German occupation of France during World War II. 

Although her mother's apartment in Paris is opulent it has always been the family chateau in Gassin, her father's family home, that Emilie has been drawn to but after a visit there she realises the enormity of the task ahead of her to restore it to its former glory.  

But fortunately for Emilie she soon meets charming Englishman Sebastian, an art enthusiast, who identifies a rare painting that once sold will boost the renovation coffers along with the proceeds of the sale of the Paris apartment.  They soon discover there is a mutual family connection in that his grandmother Constance had met and stayed with Emilie's family during the war when she had been sent to France as a spy.

Whilst visiting the chateau family friend Jacques recalls some of the events that happened during the war which confirms that Constance had ended up staying with the family when her spy network had been discovered shortly before her arrival.  

Although the storyline goes back and forth between the present day and the past, it isn't confusing and the writing flows well.  I was particularly interested in the historical element of the German occupation, and the events that transpired, which I found to be very emotional reading.

Having never read any of Lucinda Riley's books before, I'll definitely be looking to read more of her books in the future after enjoying this one.  I'd like to thank Sophie at Midas PR for sending me a proof copy of this book to review.

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