Kate Mosse is not an author I am familiar with – I had heard of her but kind of assumed her books wouldn’t be my thing. Then a colleague of mine told me her books were amazing – and not long after I spotted this in my local library. So I decided to give it a whirl.
The book is set in the south of France in the 1920s and follows Frederick as he travels around the region trying to get over the grief and guilt he feels following the death of his beloved older brother George in the war 10 years ago.
Then his car is involved in an accident and he finds himself in the small town of Nulle. He goes to stay in a deserted guest house and soon finds himself at the local celebratory fete, where he meets Fabrissa. We hear her story, which leads George to unearth some of the town’s secrets…
This is a really unusual story, but it is told in a very straightforward way and I read it in just a short time. Told mainly in the first person by Freddie (but with an opening and closing chapter told in the third person), we learn a lot about Freddie, his grief, and the uncomfortable relationship he has had with his family. Fabrissa also has a sad story to tell and this is where the story gets more mysterious.
I did enjoy this book and I liked the easy pace of it. It wasn’t hugely gripping, I didn’t feel, but it moved along in an interesting and readable way. It leaves questions unanswered at the end – but this is the nature of the book – and I imagine different readers will interpret it in different ways.
This was adapted from a short story that Mosse had previously written, and it did feel like a ‘long’ short story in many ways, and the ending loses some of the drama as it is told very quickly and without the twists that you may expect.
But overall this was an easy and undemanding read – not my usual kind of thing but pleasant enough!
My rating: 7/10