Sebastian Faulks established his authority as a storyteller with his best-selling Birdsong
. His next book, Charlotte Gray
, a haunting story of love and war set in London and occupied France in 1942-3, is loosely a sequel. Charlotte is a highly educated young Scottish woman who falls passionately in love with an airman, Peter Gregory, emotionally scarred by his many close brushes with death. When he disappears on a mission to France, she follows him as a British secret courier, sent over to help support the Resistance. Having failed to find Gregory, she decides to stay on to do what she can for the France she has loved since childhood. She and the reader are drawn ever deeper into the lives of assimilated French Jews-- the children Andre and Jacob whose parents have already been sent to the death camps, and the Levades, father and son. Though ultimately powerless to help, Charlotte nevertheless learns a far deeper understanding of herself and her own family through them.
This is a book full of insight into the way civilization can slip into barbarism. Its haunting themes of memory and passion stay with you long after you have finished reading. --Lisa Jardine
"A miraculous novel. . . . Faulks is a master indeed." --"San Francisco Chronicle" "Eloquent and moving. . . . A page turner for grown-ups, a novel with the rich detail of a great historical narrative." -"The Baltimore Sun" "There is no shortage of dramatic tension, excitement or persuasive detail [in Charlotte Gray]. . . . Mr. Faulks is a prodigiously talented writer." --"The New York Times" "This powerful novel...explodes into an immensely gripping tale." --"The Wall Street Journal" "What begins as a conventional love story becomes an adventure of the spirit... Charlotte Gray has depth and texture." --"The Washington Post" "From the Trade Paperback edition."