After surviving the accident that took her mother's life, Claire Broussard worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days, she feels something lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful sculpture that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II.
At her grandmother's urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the centuries old mask-making atelier where the sculpture, known only as "L'inconnue" - or the Unknown Woman - was created. With the help of a passionate sculptor, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offer insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art.
As Claire uncovers the unknown woman's tragic fate, she begins to discover secrets - and a new love - of her own.
©2016 Julie Goodson-Lawes (P)2016 Tantor
This author is quickly becoming a favorite! Sweet love story wrapped in a mystery! great endings as well!
How do I classify it: a love story, a mystery, a historical novel, or all three? Or do I go with heartwarming, beautiful, warm, cozy, or simply a lovely read that I enjoyed very much?
There are three main characters: Claire (Chance) Broussard, a devastated young woman who’s Grandmother on her death bed tells her to go to Paris and discover it's secrets; Armand, a brooding Frenchman who continuing his family legacy of mold making; and Sabine, a young woman who lived over one hundred years ago and is an artist’s model. All three revolve around “L’Inconnue” - The Unknown Woman’s death mask. Uncover the history and identity of this unexplainable piece of art and you have the essence of the story. The author, Juliet Blackwall, alternates between time periods, which adds to the mystery and the sense of history.
Chance discovers secrets that have the power to change her and Armand’s lives.
The book is filled with history, family, love, and was simply a charming and beautiful read.
Whether Ms. Blackwall is writing in this format or the paranormal, she has become one of my favorite authors.
I love novels weaving stories of characters past & present. Being a Francophile, I particularly enjoyed this one. It also intwines a little of Louisiana's Cajan culture. The magic of various artistry of sculpture and a peculiar art of plaster death masks adds wonder. The scents and beauty of Paris and the French countryside were lovely and true. There are intriguing plot twists that join the past and parent. Not a cerebral novel, but a sensory feast.
Not only don't love Xe Sands the narrator and how she can do the French words and accents but I LOVE Juliet's Paris.
The way the story is part from the late 1800's and is intertwined with the present year. The bit of mystery and then you find there is a second mystery hidden.
The story was interesting enough - a light fluffy romance with a dash of mystery and historical fiction thrown in. But the narration! Yuck! Everything from the cadence to the volume was just off and SO distracting! And when switching back and forth from Claire to Sabine's chapters, the narrator did not in any way emphasize that that was what was happening, so I'd often find myself well into the next chapter and then realize they had switched centuries again. Very frustrating.
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