THE PRESENT - After her mother’s death, Emilie de la Martiniéres finds herself the sole inheritor of a chateau in the south of France. There she discovers an old notebook which leads her along a journey to unravel the tragic love story of the mysterious Sophia.
THE PAST (1943). Constance Carruthers, arrives in occupied Paris at the height of conflict. There she stumbles into the heart of a wealthy family and is drawn into a web of deception, the repercussions of which will affect generations to come.
©2012 Lucinda Riley (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
I'm an avid audiobook lover, who listens to several each month. Lately, I'm having a hard time getting engrossed in a book - they just don't hold my interest, and I find myself deleting it 3/4 of the way through because I'm bored. I am a huge fan of Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra, Kimberely Freeman, Jojo Moyes, Liane Moriarty, JH Fletcher, Susanna Kearsley and other authors who love to write deep, complicated storylines that involve intricate family dynamics, genealogy, old diaries/letters, etc. etc. But I've listened to them all - and have grown bored. Then, all of a sudden, I came across Lucinda Riley. What a find! This was my first book by Riley, and it did not disappoint. She did a fantastic job of bridging the past and the present. Her character development is superb, and her ability to create suspense and drama is excellent. It was the perfect mix of history and romance -- not too much of one or the other. I listened to this almost all the way through, and finally had a book that held me captivated to the very last word. I can't say enough about this book, and I look forward to downloading her others. The narrator was terrific, and did an incredible job with the character voices and accents. The only thing that didn't sit well with me and niggled a bit were the poems by "Sophia" that were recited. Sophia was French, and presumably wrote her poems in French, and yet they rhymed perfectly in English. Just one of those things that was like a puzzle piece out of place, but certainly didn't distract at all from the story. If you like historical romances with a bit of mystery and family drama mixed in, or if you're a fan of WWII historical romances, I highly recommend!
This is one of the best books I have listened to in some time. I originally bought the Kindle book which was titled 'The Lavender Garden' and as it was available on audible with whispersync at a reduced price I decided to listen to it. I was a bit confused when I first downloaded the audible book as the title was different from the Kindle version however, I found it made no difference what the title. The book is wonderful and the narrator is perfect, what a wonderful surprise to find such a treasure. I loved everything about this book and I will look for more by this writer and narrator.
Loved this book. Two interesting linked stories in two time periods make for an enjoyable read. The ending was perhaps a bit too tidy, but who doesn't like a tidy conclusion. The story is well told and well read.
Having enjoyed Lucinda Riley's Hothouse Flowers I was looking forward to this book. Overall I wasn't disappointed, it was an engaging story which compells you to complete it to the end to discover what happens to the characters. Her characters are all interesting and help weave the story as it moves smoothly between modern day and 1940 wartime France. The dialogue could be a little stilted in places, but it doesn't detract from what is overall a good book. However, I didn't particularly enjoy the narration as I felt it detracted something plausible from the characters - this is just my personal opinion though, and it is still worth listening too.
Love dogs, music, books, travel. Listen mostly in the car. Like thrillers, comedy, history, bios, romance, self-help, spirituality, how-to.
A good plot that held my interest throughout. At times I thought the present-day storyline was a bit predictable, but it has enough small surprises to keep you guessing. It is nice to see the fate of the characters from two different times unravel in parallel to be joined at the very satisfying end - romantic but not soppy. The poems are beautiful and a nice touch. Accents irritate me at times, but the reader did not go overboard.
Emilie annoyed me at first but I loved her by the end. The dual story lines were excellent. I especially enjoyed the WW2 story line with the female SOE agent, Constance, behind enemy lines in France. The reader can't help but adore Constance and her bravery. The story had a great deal of twists and turns and it kept me guessing to the end.
Many parts of the story were sad but that fit perfectly with the time period and subject matter. I enjoy Lucinda Riley's style of writing and look forward to more. Gerri Halligan delivers and excellent performance of this story.
Publisher notes describe this work as a WWll story. While much of the book does flash back to that time period it is really a story about family, love, loss, strength, and trust. A good listen when wanting a well written tale, not too much drama, just enough to not keep you awake at night. Great book to listen to with the sleep timer on. Narrator is very adept with the various accents and is convincing when speaking the male voices as well.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Story of France and England during WWII, what Hitler did to the GERMAN people, who were beat down and defeated by life, and in the frame of mind to accept the lies being fed to them by a tyrannical leader. (Good lesson for all of us.) This book is a broad story of the war and how it impacted the French, English, and German people, but also a personal story of love, pain and perseverance spanning the generations. Listening to this story was humbling. The sacrifices made by citizens during WWII should NEVER be forgotten. One of the best books I have ever come across.
I absolutely loved this book! I'm a huge Kate Morton fan and since finishing all of her books have been searching for past/present historical fiction books to read. I've read quite a few by other authors but Lucinda Riley's was just perfect.
What I love about Lucinda Riley that differs from Kate Morton is what an effectively concise storyteller she is. The whole book felt very meaningful and relevant. At first, I thought it was moving too quickly but soon enough the pace felt perfect. I finished this book in less than a week!
Such a beautiful story that really has a satisfying ending. I love stories set in the time of World War II because there are such amazing but tragic stories of sacrifice. Yet Riley tells this one in a way that doesn't leave you feeling sad at the end but instead optimistic.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for past and present historical fiction books with romance, courage, and a happy ending!
"A very compelling listen"
I must congratulate Lucinda Riley on this very compelling "listen" - this is a superb story that weaves its way through two time frames very effectively. I am usually not keen on dual timelines but here I make exception - I marvelled at the lengths Lucinda has gone to in depicting some very palpable scenarios - the two times frames could have been separate books themselves - so brilliantly written that it made me forget one "story" whilst listening to the other! This really was a book I didn't want to stop listening to and I started to feel disappointed when it was obviously nearing conclusion. True, I found some of it predictable - but it was a thrilling, emotional and enjoyable read throughout. Special mention must be given to Gerri Halligan who narrated it brilliantly - and made the characters believable. I thoroughly recommend this compelling listen - I have now listened to all Lucinda's books on Audible and can't wait for her next one to be published. A truly enjoyable author (and narrator).
"The Light Behind the Window"
No because there is a mystery to be unravelled and I now know the answer to it.
The characterisation, especially the sympathetic insight into the main character Emily.
The vivid description of the various settings.
The tense atmosphere of the two main stories.
The twist at the end. You think that you know it all but you don't !
Mostly her voices of the characters. She is also easy to listen to.
No. It's good to break it up into the separate time periods.
I like this author and look forward to her future books.
"Heartwarming saga stretching across the years"
Touched the heart!
The story was brought to life by a very talented narrator who gave credence to all the characters. As the story moved easily from one era to another the reader was able to feel all the emotions of the characters in the different times. The war years in particular were very poignant. I wonder if we had been living in that time we could have been so selfless for our country. I hope I could have!
Constance was my favourite.
There were many moments that moved me but I think the moment at the end when Frederick was able to see his grandson moved me the most.
This is the first book I have read by Lucinda Riley and it wont be the last!
Also the narrator, Gerry Halligan is my favourite. Her voice is pleasing on the ear and she brings all her talent to every book she narrates.
"A good easy listen"
I haven't read the book in print but would imagine the audio is better as the reader was very competent.
Venetia, a real heroine and Alex, he seemed to be pretty genuine. I had sussed his brother for a scoundrel at the first meeting.
Expression and inflection is good. I find it hard to characterise whilst reading. Also the accent is good.
I was sad to lose both venietia and James, both heroic characters and symbolic of the bravery shown by ordinary people in wartime.
"An Excellent Book!"
The narrators voice is interesting and also sympathetic to the story which definitely helps to draw you into the plot. Her voices and accents are good for the different characters.
There are many memorable moments in this stunning story of love, war, brutality and the strength of the human spirit in times of crisis. Each time you return to the past and to the wartime struggles of occupied France, you could almost be there.
The plot and characters in this book are exceptional. Although to begin with the modern day Emilie is quite irritating, she becomes stronger throughout the book, and the way she deals with her husband - later in the book is very refreshing!
"Easy listening and strangely compelling!"
Really enjoyed this even though I'm more of a crime novel listener! Few historical inaccuracies around Constance's wartime career (nobody would have mentioned Bletchley Park to each other!!) but we'll read and very pleasing to listen to!!
"Beautiful! Poetic, Moving"
A beautiful story, within a story,
Played between the dramatic setting of the wuthering Yorkshire moors, the rent and tortured Paris of the Vichy Republic, and the idyllic, sunny landscape of the French Bourgogne.
"Gripping moving story"
It was beautifully read her accents were perfect she has the most gorgeous voice to listen to. the story is charming ups and downs beautifully happy in the end it relaxeed me to read the story. It pulled you into france and to the vineyards ichateau you could see all the people this story.
"I enjoyed every minute"
Compelling, Sad, Believable
The interweaving of the stories, the lives and the periods in time.
Too hard to call. She is excellent in her oratory and made for very pleasant and enjoyable listening.....even in the very sad and harrowing parts of the story.
If I could have, I would have!
A truly entertaining and interesting story with twists and unexpected ends to plots. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who wants a good read.
Would recommend it to a friend
Light but intriguing
Perfect for a relaxing listen
Past well mingled with present day.
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