A beautifully controlled and powerful story of love and conscience, will and desire which begins when a mysterious young girl arrives to take up the post at the seedy Hotel du Lion D'Or in a small French town in the mid-1930s. (19950206)
The main characters, Anne and Hartmann are so convincing, I instantly became engrossed in this wonderful tale of desire, love and life itself. As always, SF sets a great emphasis on the political and historical context in which this story is set - France in the late 1930's.
I felt truly disappointed when I had to put the book down, and found it to be better than Charlotte Gray and almost as good as Birdsong - if you have enjoyed either of these, read it - if you have not read any other SF books, read it - it's now one of my favourite books and I am sure to read it again!
It is a beautiful story, ably written by an author still working towards his best. Some of the 'set pieces' are sublime, some of the emotions are still with me two years after reading the book.
One thing I have always faulted Faulks for is his inability to end novels. 'Birdsong' ends weakly, and this literally just STOPS.
It is like being told the story by an old man in a cafe in provence who dies of a heart attack just as he is about to finish.
At least 'A Fool's Alphabet' had a natural ending at 'Z', but he can't only write on subjects that come with a ready made ending.
Overall The Girl at the Lion d'Or is probably the next best Faulks book for lovers of Birdsong. Worth while reading.
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