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The Chateau of Illusions by Guy HIbbert

A tale of love, loss and redemption set in France during WWII and through to the late 20th century by Guy Hibbert.

The beautiful white limestone Château of Lusone, designed and built by the Picards, once proud Cognac producers, has fallen into the hands of the aristocratic Duplessis family. The mysteries of the château are the poignant backdrop to an unfolding story of two families, each new generation becoming entwined in a web of intrigue, love, revenge and redemption.

The Château of Illusions moves from southwest France to Paris, London and back to France again, telling the story of Thérèse Picard and her relationships with the two Duplessis brothers, Roland and François. From blissful pre-war summers to heartache and heroism during World War 2, her journey from wilful youth to brave adult is swift and painful. As the saga sweeps forward through the extravagant 1960s and into the 1980s an extraordinary work of art is discovered, and hidden secrets revealed. With the 40th anniversary of VE Day approaching, a series of dramatic revelations lead to unforeseen twists of fate for both families.

The author

Author Guy Hibbert is an award winning journalist and travel writer who has lived in and travelled extensively across France during the past twenty years. He is Editor in Chief of France Today magazine and writes regular articles about French culture, history and art de vivre.

He says “Some years ago when I was living in rural France, I took my young daughter, with a bouquet of lilacs in her hand, to pay our respects at the local village memorial. It was the anniversary of Victory in Europe and a handful of WW2 veterans stood solemnly together as the mayor placed a tricolour wreath against the white stone. Then I noticed an elderly woman – she was neat, formally dressed and stood a few yards behind the others – with a thoughtful expression on her face. On the breast pocket of her coat she wore a medal. I wondered who she was, what experiences she might have had during the war years and why she wore that medal. I never found out, but that image stayed with me and many years later I began to build her story in my imagination – my debut novel is the result.”

Review

Well written and atmospheric, the tale that Hibbert weaves is dramatic and detailed. Lovers of history and France, and of well-developed characters you feel you know, will love this book. It’s almost poetic in its tone, a tale of love, courage and loss. The story is emotional and strong, gripping and suspenseful in places and perhaps now more than ever a tale that brings home the futility of war and the affect it has on our lives for many years after the battles are over. The descriptions are superb, painting pictures in your head. As you start to get into the relationships, interactions and captivating descriptions of scenery, the book takes hold and it’s hard to put down. It’s a great read.

Available from Amazon and good bookshops everywhere.

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