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.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 3767.0 KB
Print Length: 397 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1784162531
Publisher: Transworld Digital (1 Jan. 2018)
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
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