Women’s Fiction | The Secrets Between Us by Laura Madeleine

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today, sharing my thoughts on Laura Madeleine’s third novel, The Secrets Between Us.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed those two previous novels (The Confectioner’s Tale, Where the Wild Cherries Grow) so I think it’s fair to say that my expectations were high.  What I hadn’t bargained for was the depth of emotions I felt for the characters involved in this heartbreaking love story or the connection I felt with the Jewish refugees.

Inspired by true events, The Secrets Between Us is a story you won’t want to miss.

The Secrets Between Us Laura Madeleine

Format: Kindle Edition

File Size: 3767.0 KB

Print Length: 397 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1784162531

Publisher: Transworld Digital (1 Jan. 2018)

Language: English

ASIN: B074W7F1GD

 

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person. Scandal, it would seem, can be more dangerous than war.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

Saint-Antoine, occupied by the Italian army in 1943 is suffering the hardships of war.  Ceci’s parents own the bakery and manage to keep going with alternative ingredients.  Comparisons between 5 years ago and now make it clear just how much the bakery has changed.  An influx of refugees change so much in this community, not least for Ceci on the edge of becoming a woman.

1993.  Annie’s mum is away in Australia.  Having lost touch with her mother after an argument, a change in life circumstances has her expressing a desire to find her mum to Annie.  Acting out of character, Annie makes an impromptu trip to Paris, little knowing what she will find and how it will impact on three generations of women.

Two very different female leads.  Ceci, breaking rules and keeping secrets but trying to portray the dutiful daughter whilst Annie lacks confidence (which isn’t helped by her bullying colleagues) and doesn’t believe in the value of who she is.  I enjoyed seeing Annie breaking out of her self imposed boundaries to experience how life can be.  Ceci is the character who stole my heart though.  Wild and earthy, she unfurls along with the seasons.  She pulled me in and made me feel so deeply.  I cried when the story ended.  And then cried some more …

I enjoy how Laura Madeleine’s writing makes me feel:

I walk back across the tiled floor, feeling as if I’ve swallowed something far more than champagne, something fitful and shadowy, too big to fit inside my skin.

Pause a moment.  Do you feel the sensations too?

The setting and community of Saint-Antoine was very vivid.  As you would expect from a Laura Madeleine novel, baking and the fruits of nature are prominent in the story, tantalising the senses.  Once ‘inside’ this story, the outside world just didn’t exist for me.  Exactly what I look for!

The Secrets Between us is heartbreaking – a love that was never allowed to flourish.  And also the plight of refugees whilst there and what happens once the Italians move out.   Civilization at its most repressed fighting for survival … this story shines a light on the darkness and shadows and gives hope.  A must read.

Connect with Laura Madeleine

Author Website

Twitter @LauraMadeleine

Check out the other hosts on tour:

The Secrets Between Us Laura Madeleine

Married with two sons in their early 20's, by day I'm an Inclusion Lead in a local school. I recharge my batteries by reading, being out in nature and creating with crochet. I've been blogging for six years, four of those years exclusively about the literary world and during that time awarded Romance Blogger of the Year at the inaugural Festival of Romance. I'm enjoying the freedom of lifestyle blogging and sharing my love of anything that makes life easier! As well as a lover of words, I'm a stationery addict and lifelong learner. I feel passionate about early help for special educational needs, disability and families who are struggling. I'm a member of my local Early Help Operational Board and it's an honour to be working alongside others to instigate change and growth.