“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”
When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.
“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.
“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”
During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.
“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”
Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.
Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?
I once again find myself in a position where I’m hesitant to write a review because I’m not entirely sure that my issues with the book are the author’s fault, but her name will be associated with my comments.
I’ve been reviewing (writing and editing) books for a while now. Though I may not care for the characters or certain plot elements, the stories are – for the most part – fairly well-written. That has not been the case for the last couple of books I’ve read. For the last book, I attributed it to the book being mis-marketed (calling it women’s fiction when it’s really literary). After reading another book published by the same house with many of the same issues, however, I’m beginning to reconsider my stance.
Here’s the deal: I love the idea of this book. The concept intrigues me. The execution, however, nearly bored me. The novel starts with all kind of backstory and information – I never get to see the characters interact, so when Jessica has her nervous breakdown, I was unmoved. Instead of feeling her pain, I was just reading the account of it on the page.
Then there’s the punctuation: How many times should a book … Do all of the characters … (Why does everyone have to pause when they speak?) And even though I never connected emotionally with the characters, I did have certain expectations. Most of them were mid-thirties and older, but they would all slip into high school girl mode! Excited about something? Let’s yell about it! I expected them to bust out in OMG! LOL!
I don’t fault the author for those issues, though – I wish one of editors would have caught those things. I wish the standard was as high as it used to be, then – perhaps – this book would have been a must-read, can’t-put-it-down, I-want-to-give-it-to-my-friends. Instead, I plodded my way through it, skimming pages and wishing I had connected on a deeper level.
*I received a free copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers. The opinions are my own.