Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay, blends history and fantasy, facts and imagination. Ned Marriner, a 15-year-old from Canada, travels with his father to France. His father, a famous photographer, is there to shoot pictures for his next book. What starts off as a vacation for Ned quickly turns dark and confusing as first he meets an American girl, Kate Wenger, and together they run into a strange and frightening man. Who is this man? Where did he come from? What, if anything is his connection to Ned?
A friend said it was the best book she’s read in a long time, so I took The Elegance of the Hedgehog on my vacation – seemed perfect, nice little paperback to travel easy with plenty of time to read. After a couple of chapters I was not feeling the same love as my friend, but I was stuck in a hotel room with only that book, so I plodded on. I’m glad I did. Author Muriel Barbery has crafted a novel that is really a work of philosophy – definitely not a beach read – but a gem for the soul.
Peter Mayle has written delightful non-fiction accounts of his life in Provence--this switch to fiction, while equally delightful, appears somewhat authobiographical (both Mayle and the main character leave high-powered advertising jobs to find fulfillment in France), incorporating his love of Provence and its good food with a rather comical bank heist and kidnapping. This is not a deep discourse on anything but it displays Mayle's affection and appreciation for this part of the world, and the book provides an entertaining and appetizing way to spend a lazy summer afternoon, if you're ever
The enigmatic Seraphin Monge, the central character of The Murdered House, reappears in this sequel for only the first third as a living character, but his presence pervades the story and the actions of the two women who were most in love with him. This is a dark, noirish tale, set in Provence and so atmospheric one would think it is the middle of the seventeenth century, but it is actually set right after the first World War, and continues through the end of the Deuxiem
By Tilar J. Mazzeo (Published 2009)
YA Fiction Sally Gardner Sido the neglected daughter of French aristocrat, Marquis de Villeduval, has lived most of her 12 years in the convent she was sent to after her mother’s death. She hopes for a positive turn to her life when she is retrieved for a grand fete at her father’s new chateau at the request of her father’s acquaintance, the sinister Count Kalliovski.
Winner of three prestigioius awards, Holy Smoke did not disappoint. Antonio Polsinelli has worked very hard to distance himself from his Italian upbringing, living in Paris and speaking only French. But, a mystery arises from the Italian community that Antonio has escaped from, dragging him back, kicking and screaming.
When I started reading this book I thought it a little too literary for my taste and spent too much time toggling between the book and my dictionary. It is at heart, a philosophical novel, with characters who read Marx and The German Ideology, while others contemplate Japanese suppuku. My opinion changed on exactly page 108 with a misplaced comma. Renee Michel, who is the concierge at an apartment building inhabited by wealthy people, finds this an underhanded attack.