Set in Paris, the story gives readers an unparalleled insight into the lives of the inhabitants of Paris during the 1870-71 siege. This author, who lives in Toronto with her husband, is no stranger to writing historical fiction, having written three previous books. Indeed, she was prompted to write this story by questions concerning one of her previous novels, ‘Lies Told in Silence.’
I particularly enjoyed this story because it is set in a period of history that’s not that well known. The time just after the abdication of Napoleon III, who was the nephew of Napoleon I, when the Prussian army laid siege to Paris.
Written through the eyes of two privileged young ladies, Camille Noisette, and Mariele de Crécy, one not only discovers through them what life was like for the well-to-do who lived in the city, but also the poor and underprivileged. A true tale of “upstairs, downstairs” as the author cleverly reveals life for those with and without at a time of great change in Paris. It’s wonderfully well researched.
Both Camille and Mariele, who are destined to become sisters-in-law, find themselves stepping out from their protected lives in order to help others, at a time when young ladies didn’t do such things. Camille, offers to become a nurse, witnessing first-hand the horrendous injuries received on the battle fields, and finding strength and fortitude to overcome her fears, and work alongside the doctors in their makeshift operation rooms. And Marielle, looks after the children of the poor, offering them love and a little food in the basement of a church, whilst their fathers fight in the war.
For her country, Camille is asked to infiltrate the ranks of the ‘radicals,’ the poor, starving, people of Paris who are rebelling. And, through her eyes as a spy, the reader discovers another side to the city, and can really appreciate the vast differences between the classes.
You’re swept along, immersed in the story and see the Paris of the 19th century through the eyes of the main characters.
I was captured immediately by this story. M.K. Tod has opened my eyes to this fascinating period of history, and with the story lines of her two protagonists, and their families, she paints an amazing portrait of Paris under siege.
This book is a real treat for readers who love France and its history. A masterfully written story of hope despite tragedy and a real page turner.
5 Stars. Available from Amazon.
Find out more about M.K.Tod at: awriterofhistory.com