Published on February 9, 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Historical Fiction
After losing her fiancé in the Vietnam War, nineteen-year-old Laurel Haley takes a job in England, hoping the distance will mend her shattered heart. Laurel expects the pain might lessen but does not foresee the beguiling man she meets or that they’ll go to Paris, where the city’s magic will take over and alter everything Laurel believes about love.
Thirty years later, Laurel’s daughter Annie is newly engaged and an old question resurfaces: who is Annie’s father and what happened to him? Laurel has always been vague about the details and Annie’s told herself it doesn’t matter. But with her impending marriage, Annie has to know everything. Why won’t Laurel tell her the truth?
The key to unlocking Laurel’s secrets starts with a mysterious book about an infamous woman known as the Duchess of Marlborough. Annie’s quest to understand the Duchess, and therefore her own history, takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a decaying estate kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris where answers will be found at last.
(Source: Thanks to St. Thomas Dunne and Net Galley for providing the copy. This will not affect my reviews.)
A story of love, heartbreak, and second chances. When Annie and her mom – Laurel went to London for some business appointments, Annie discovers the mystery underlying in the book she had and the real story of her mom’s past.
The book was told in two POV’s in different time. First is the year 1973, when Pru lost his fiancé during Vietnam War, she saw the ad in a newspaper looking for a personal assistant to a cultured older woman living alone in England. In order to forget all her bad experiences, she applied for it. While she took care to an older woman who happens to be Gladys Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, secrets and mysteries unveiled when the writer step on the house. Second is the year 2001 during the post 9/11 attack. Annie is engaged to her US Marine boyfriend and her mom disapproves with the engagement without no reasons. The relationship between them is on the rocks.
Though there are characters that are bit annoying, they connect to each other and there’s no doubt you’ll not love them. One of the characters that I really loved is Laurel. Her story is really interesting (well, aside from the story of Gladys Spencer-Churchill) – from her past and to the present. It’s a shocking revelation, in fact, even her daughter couldn’t imagine the real story of her mom. Plus, Laurel is a strong woman despite all of the challenges she faced and since she is a single parent.
Another highlight of the story is the writer – Win Seton. Even if he’s a cold blooded, there’s something about him that attract the most. And the character of Gladys Spencer-Churchill in the book is such a phenomenal. Because of her life story, everyone creates their own path in life and she is such an inspiration to the them.
Although this book is a fictitious, I admired how the author put all of these series of events together and how she mixed the mystery to a love story. The writing of the story is outstanding and I loved how the characters touch my heart. This makes me want to read some of the author’s books.
For a casual historical fiction reader like me, the pacing of the story will make you bored however, the story is worth it once you finish reading it.
Read this if……
You are a fan of historical fiction, and an earth-shattering love-story.
Places it was set:
England, Paris, and Virginia USA.