Today’s Team review is from Cathy, she blogs here http://betweenthelinesbookblog.com
Cathy has been reading Spirit Of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat
Spirit of Lost Angels is the story of Victoire Charpentier. Born in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne in rural 18th century France during the years leading up to the French Revolution, she lives with her parents and siblings. Madam Charpentier is a healer and the local midwife, her husband a carpenter travelling from town to town plying his trade. A fierce storm when Victoire was six years old brought about a terrible tragedy and the family’s fortunes are about to take a devastating turn for the worst. Victoire is forced to take a domestic position in Paris, with a letter of recommendation from the village priest.
Victoire’s troubles are only just beginning. She is now at the mercy of her employer, the Marquis de Barberon. Her belief in the cruelty and indifference of the aristocracy to the common people, born when her father was killed, only intensified and chafed. It was wholly due to the help of Claudine, the cook, she survived the Marquis’ visits and the eventual outcome.
Victoire’s life is filled with tragedy, loss, betrayal and horror. She also experiences happiness and joy, especially when she is in Lucie at L’Auberge des Anges, the inn she and her husband, Armand, began together. But nothing lasts and Victoire is soon again in the direst of circumstances.
After Victoire’s meeting in the dreaded La Salpêtrière Asylum, and subsequent friendship, with the notorious Jeanne de Valois, her resolve to raise awareness of the plight of women only grew. I enjoyed Victoire’s exchanges of letters with Jeanne and Mary Wollstonecraft, both of whom are not fictional, as another way to convey their thoughts on the state of affairs.
Liza Perrat brings the history (obviously researched in depth), the sights, sounds and vast differences between the rich and poor of pre revolution France to life skilfully. Along with village life and Parisian society, wonderfully drawn and fascinating characters, realistic dialogue and some shocking scenes. Beautifully written and vividly described, the volatility of the political climate and the plight of women are shown to great effect.
Spirit of Lost Angels in the first in The Bone Angel trilogy, following the women of the Charpentier family, named for the bone angel protective talisman given to Victoire by her mother and passed down through the generations.
Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her impoverished peasant roots.
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the 18th century old regime.
Imprisoned in France’s most pitiless madhouse, La Salpêtrière asylum, the desperate Victoire begins a romance with fellow prisoner Jeanne de Valois, infamous conwoman of the diamond necklace affair. With the help of the ruthless and charismatic countess, Victoire carves out a new life for herself.
Enmeshed in the fever of pre-revolutionary France, Victoire must find the strength to join the revolutionary force storming the Bastille. Is she brave enough to help overthrow the diabolical aristocracy?
As this historical fiction adventure traces Victoire’s journey, it follows too, the journey of an angel talisman through generations of the Charpentier family.
Amidst the intrigue and drama of the French revolution, the women of Spirit of Lost Angels face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.
About the author
Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the French historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII Nazi Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.
Friends, Family and Other Strangers is a collection of humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia.
Liza is a founding member of the Author Collective, Triskele Books and regularly reviews books for Bookmuse.