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
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.
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.
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.
As others have said, I agreed the start was quite slow, but the complex story rand excellent writing reward those who persist. If you enjoy WWII historical fiction, give this one s try. Also narrator is superb!
I truly enjoyed this book! Interesting, inspiring story and fantastic narration. The dual plots worked well together. Look forward to other books by this author!
Intriguing, historic, memorable..
The opening of this book introduces us to a practicing veterinarian heiress who falls apart and into the arms of a total stranger when her mother dies. She actually quickly marries this guy. Psyche! I was on the verge of shutting this thing off, but I let the reviews keep me going. Glad I did. If not for the beginning I'd have given this listen 5 stars. Good story, predictable ending, very interesting characters as it progresses. Don't be put off by the ditzy nutcase's behavior at the start - it does get a lot better.
Excellent book. I had to keep listening until it was finished. I recommend it to everyone who loves a great book.
I've read a number of novels that flip back in forth in time and for the most part, enjoy the premise. There were a few minor weaknesses (spoiler here - Faulk, although you could see his cruel streak, never seemed so in relation to Constance. I therefore found his treatment of her (finally) hard to fathom. I know there was a "history repeating itself" theme in the 2 sets of brothers, one out to destroy the other (and the good one finally prevailing in each instance) but I don't see why that even had to be an element in the story. I think the basic plot would have worked regardless…i.e.…have the modern brothers but the 2 in WWII could have been non-related. Nevertheless and although it certainly covers a lot of sad ground, it's ultimately uplifting. I'm not one to spend much time mucking through relentlessly sad tales and this one, probably as much the success of the narration as not, engenders hope throughout. I loved the ending with was a wonderfully satisfying resolution.
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 really enjoyed this book as to the occupied France during WWII. However, the modern day plot was predictable and disappointing.
"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!
"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.
"Another absorbing story"
If you like a really good story that holds your interest along with good flesh outed characters then read Lucinda Riley books - she never disappoints!
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