Synopsis from Goodreads: Heartbroken and alone, Boston art curator Sarah West is grieving the recent deaths of her parents and the end of her marriage. Ultra-sensible by nature, she’s determined to stay the course to get her life back on track. But fate has something else in mind. While cleaning out her father’s closet, she finds a letter from the famous Parisian courtesan Marthe de Florian, dated 1895. The subject? Sarah’s great-great-aunt Louisa’s death. Legend has it Louisa committed suicide…but this letter implies there’s more to that story.
Determined to learn the truth, Sarah, against her nature, impulsively flies to Paris. There she’s drawn into the world of her flatmate, the brilliant artist Laurent Chartier. As she delves deep into the glittering Belle Époque to unravel the mystery, Sarah finds that her aunt’s story may offer her exactly what she needs to open up to love again.
Following Sarah in the present day and Louisa in the 1890s, this moving novel spans more than a century to tell the stories of two remarkable women.
I started this book without expectations as such as I had only read one book by this author previously. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to the stories as I enjoyed the previous one I read by Ms Carey.
And yes, you read that right. Stories. You need to read her books to know what I mean by that.
While I read this book, I felt acutely the emotions that were experienced by the protagonists. The flow of the story would not let the situation be otherwise for me.
The characterisation and scenarios of both past and present makes for an enjoyable read.
I won’t go into discussion of everything about the book however I may wish to because I want to keep the review to a length people will consider reading and there are points that I would definitely like to talk about.
Firstly, this talks about the struggle women have been to for us to breathe in a relatively very free atmosphere. his novel set in past and present talks about the struggles of women in the late 19th century. How one decision after another is forced on them. How they are given to believe they have power while they are nothing but mere puppets of society. Not just that, it also brings to light the taboo surrounding divorce (at least in my part of the world). It talks about how life doesn’t end after a divorce. Unlike society thinking it ruining a woman’s life, divorce actually helps a woman better her life once she is no more in a stifling relationship.
Secondly, one thing that I must say that intrigued me so much about the ending of the novel was how it refuted an old saying that history is written by the winners. This book shows how people think they are winners and try changing the course of history but they are in fact the ones who have lost. The truth comes to fore however deep it be hid.
Before I end this review, I’d like to share this screenshot of one of my favourite lines from the book.
I loved it and will recommend it to anyone who is reading this.