A beautifully controlled and powerful story of love and conscience, will and desire which begins when a mysterious young girl arrives to take up a post at the seedy H-tel du Lion d'Or in a small French town in the mid-1930s. The Girl at the Lion d'Or is the first book in Sebastian Faulks' French trilogy of novel. Birdsong and Charlotte Gray are also available from Random House Audio Books, read by Samuel West.
©1993 Sebastian Faulks (P)2011 Random House AUDIO GO
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"A modern classic"
When I read my first Sebastien Faulks novel many moons ago, I remember waiting for a big event to happen or an incredibly unforeseen ending to occur and I felt mildly disappointed that this was not the case.
The beauty of a Faulks novel is that although there might not be an aforementioned 'surprise' in each chapter, his beautifully articulate use of English literature never fails to transport you to what you are reading.
In this book; during Each sentence, you will find yourself gently walking down the fictional path of post war Paris as a young lady starting a job at the Hotel De Lion' Dor. It is not suspenseful or action packed, but rather intriguing and lovely, undoubtedly a welcome change of pace from real life for me and many others I'm sure.
'Not Faulks' Best' is the title of many reviews on this book, but do not be fooled. In my opinion, It is as beautiful and magnificent as any of his previous novels.
We enjoyed the book. It was not gripping or exciting but that suited us for evening listening. Faulks drew us into his tale of post war deprivation and abandonment some people must have suffered. Beautiful descriptions of French countryside and life. The story flowed smoothly with skilful narration by James Wilby. We will hopefully find more read by him.
"Didn't strike a chord"
I had high hopes for this book but found it predictable. At the end of it, I wondered why I'd spent so many hours listening to something that had no suspense and no surprises. Little plot strands that felt as if they *might* go somewhere just petered out and it was really nothing more than the very traditional married man/younger woman scenario. Surprisingly, I didn't like James Wilby's narration either, although I've always enjoyed watching him on TV.
"Not Faulks' best"
Having listened to both "Birdsong" and "Charlotte Grey" and being truly impressed and entertained by every aspect of both stories, I was frankly disappointed in the 3rd book of the trilogy and am still trying to work out any connection between this rather dull story of an orphaned waitress in a small French provincial town who falls prey to the lust of the local bourgeoisie and Faulks' other two more remarkable offerings.
James Wilby's rendition was, however, excellent although I was a little confused at first by the English west country accent applied to French country folk and the chef de cuisine with a Yorkshire accent.
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