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.
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I'm an avid audiobook lover, who listens to several each month. Lately, I'm having a hard time getting engrossed in a book - they just don't hold my interest, and I find myself deleting it 3/4 of the way through because I'm bored. I am a huge fan of Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra, Kimberely Freeman, Jojo Moyes, Liane Moriarty, JH Fletcher, Susanna Kearsley and other authors who love to write deep, complicated storylines that involve intricate family dynamics, genealogy, old diaries/letters, etc. etc. But I've listened to them all - and have grown bored. Then, all of a sudden, I came across Lucinda Riley. What a find! This was my first book by Riley, and it did not disappoint. She did a fantastic job of bridging the past and the present. Her character development is superb, and her ability to create suspense and drama is excellent. It was the perfect mix of history and romance -- not too much of one or the other. I listened to this almost all the way through, and finally had a book that held me captivated to the very last word. I can't say enough about this book, and I look forward to downloading her others. The narrator was terrific, and did an incredible job with the character voices and accents. The only thing that didn't sit well with me and niggled a bit were the poems by "Sophia" that were recited. Sophia was French, and presumably wrote her poems in French, and yet they rhymed perfectly in English. Just one of those things that was like a puzzle piece out of place, but certainly didn't distract at all from the story. If you like historical romances with a bit of mystery and family drama mixed in, or if you're a fan of WWII historical romances, I highly recommend!
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.