Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Lavender Garden

Lucinda Riley

The internationally bestselling author of The Orchid House takes readers from Nazi-occupied Paris to the contemporary glamour 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.

Le Cote d’Azur, 1998: In the sun-dappled south of France, Emilie de la Martinieres, the last of her gilded line, 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 bright, young 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 her contacts in the Resistance, she stumbles into the heart of a wealthy, socially prominent family who regularly entertain members of the German elite even as they plot to liberate France. In a city rife with collaborators and brave members of the Resistance, 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. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

I must say, I really liked this story. Lot’s of breath holding suspense, especially with regards to Constance’s part of the story. The where certainly times that I wanted to smack Emilie for her naivete. Geesh - how stupid can you be? But in the context of her character, I decided here behavior was understandable. As I always say, when a character makes me react in some way - good or bad - the author must be doing something right!

This is the first book I have read by Ms Riley. I liked the way she pulled it all together at the end. There was one surprise that I did not see coming. I very much enjoyed her writing style and have already added her two other books to my reading list.

My thanks to Atria Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: June 11, 2013.