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To My Daughter in France [Hardcover]

Stephanie Keating , Barbara Keating
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 May 2002
"And to my daughter in France, I bequeath the remainder of my Estate." These words, read from the will of Irish academic Richard Kirwan, come as a complete surprise to his grieving family. In France, 24-year-old Solange de Valnay's world is equally shattered: she loves the man she calls "Papa" and the Languedoc vineyard in which she had the happiest of childhoods; Celine, her adored mother, is dead. Just as she is about to embark on married life with her fiance Guy, all her certainties are undercut with doubt. She resolves to spurn her new-found Irish half-siblings. But once revealed, the truth of Richard Kirwan's liaison cannot be so easily buried. The grief and anger of the Kirwan children impels them to ask searching questions - of their vibrant, artist mother Helena, and of Seamus, the saintly uncle whose life in Connemara seems perplexingly loveless. And though Solange might try to run from the past, it lives on in the memory of her remarkable, surprising grandmother, Charlotte. What emerges is an extraordinary tale of an irresistible but impossible love affair, of passion and blind heroism, of sacrifices made for love and honour and of four families whose resistance to the German forces occupying France during Second World War binds them across borders and cultures and through war and peace.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press; First Edition, First Impression edition (16 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860469736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860469732
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,253,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Full of intrigue, love, passion and anger" (Irish Independent)

"A singular literary event - a cosmopolitan novel" (Observer)

"Stiff upper lips are melted by passion in this story of wartime valour and present day curiosity" (Irish Tatler) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A terrific page-turner - a summer novel which really is 'The perfect holiday read' Independent on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tantalizingly clever and a wonderful read 29 Jun 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have just finished this new novel, To My Daughter in France, written by two sisters. To anyone with an interest in the vineyards of the South of France, it is impressive indeed. But it is far more than that. Through a clever use of flash-backs, it portrays the current agonies and involvement of two families, one French, one Irish unknown to one another until a fateful day, when a Will and shocking bequest is revealed. From that point, at the very beginning, the novel spins a fascinating tale in broad sweeps, from the West of Ireland to the vineyards of France, reaching back to Nazi occupied Paris, including by the way, one of the best ever descriptions of that horrendous period. All in all a most satisfying, original and enjoyable book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 17 Jan 2007
By JoviAli
Format:Paperback
I was given this by a friend who said I had to read this - and he was right! I loved this book, I just couldn't put it down. I have read many books of various different authors/genres and I have to say this is my favourite. It is the only book I have read (so far) that has made me cry! I recommended it to another friend and she read it in one hit as she just couldn't put it down either! I think she only slept for about 4 hours that night as she woke up having dreamt of it and needed to know what happened.

Now to me - that is the sign of a good book.

I've read the negative comments about this book and I just don't get it - did they read the same book? I can't even say there is a division between men and women on this book as it was a man who recommended it to me (a woman!) and I've now had other friends of both genders give the same opinions!!!

Read and enjoy - you'll love it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read! 27 Feb 2007
By E. Heckingbottom TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My Mum read this book first, then phoned me to recommend it. I went online straight away and purchased it, and am very glad that I did! It is our book club 'read' for this month, and I have been able to prepare a lot of ideas for discussion from it.

From the opening sentence, this book has you gripped. Just imagine; at the reading of your father's will, you suddenly find out that you have a half sister in France that you have never heard about before. What would you do?

The reaction of the main character is, naturally, to contact her and to find out more; however the reaction from the other side is less open. It raises all sorts of questions and worries for Solange. Does the man that she has always thought of as her father know the whole story? Does he know what has happened?

The book then takes us on to discover more about the lives of both families. We find out about their lives in wartime France and the work of the resistance. The characters grow, becoming more rounded; and I found myself empathising with characters that I never thought I would relate to at the beginning of the book. (These particular authors are incredibly skilled at this - it has happened to me in all three of their books!)

This is an extremely well written book. Like the others that this pair of sisters have written, there is no clear point at which you feel the writer has changed; and yet it is a collaborative work.

Try it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read 9 Jan 2004
Format:Paperback
The main thing that made me choose the book was it's connection with the Languedoc region of France which I love. I then read some negative reviews of the book, so wasn't overly enthusiastic when I picked it up to read, but by the end of the first chapter I was hooked, I couldn't put the book down!
When Richard Kirwan dies, his wife & 3 grown up children are shocked to discover through the reading of his will, that he has another daughter living in France. They are obviously thrown into turmoil.
The story swings from the 1970's to the 1930/40's. It tells the story in the 1970's of the distraught Kirwan family and daughter Eleanor writing to the no-longer secret daughter, Solange, who also knew nothing of her Mother's relationship with Richard and is devastated to find her "Papa" isn't her real Father. This part of the tale tells how each person involved, deals with the shocking news, feelings of betrayel, hurt, unreturned love,deception.
Also, running along side this story is the passionate, war time love story that brought Richard Kirwan into the life of Celine, Solanges mother. It tells of 4 families that are caught up in the war, their love & heroism in dangerous times.
Eventually the story is unravelled from various sources and the past begins to meet the present day.
A very touching, emotion provoking story!
I will definitely be looking out for the next book from these sisters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming and compelling 27 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I own a bookshop and I first came across this book when a chap said that I had to get this book in and I have got to read it. 10 minutes later another chap came in and said exactly the same thing. I did read it and because of my recommendations, I have sold more of this book than any other in my shop. The storyline is handled so well moving between the 1970s and 1940s and describes how one sister in France finds out that she has a stepsister in Ireland and how they deal with this. but of course the real story lies with their Father and what happens to various relationships in the 2nd World War.

A thoroughly compelling book, unusual in that it is written by two sisters which gives it an intriguing style. Well worth a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Would recommend to anyone I am now reading Blood Sisters by the Keating sisters and so far another good read
Published 4 months ago by Joy
5.0 out of 5 stars To my daughter in France
This book was very readable from the very start. I good storyline altrnating betweem events before, during and after the war and then the 1970's but it was an easy story to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Sylvia
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising start but ultimately disappointing
I enjoyed the book for much of the first half. It had an intriguing story and was easy to get into, but as the book progressed the plot became increasingly unbelievable and soppy. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Serena
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
A wonderful first novel by the Keating sisters who have also written an excellent trilogy about Kenya where I lived for 40 years
Published 17 months ago by Richard Daniell
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which was a little different to books incorporating relationships in and after World War II. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Pollyanna
5.0 out of 5 stars To my daughter in france
This is a fantastic read and I would recommend it. The story enfolds as you read it, it is well written both happy and sad with a good in sight into the history of the French... Read more
Published on 18 April 2012 by Readalot
5.0 out of 5 stars Cried my eyes out
I just loved this book which I read because I have read other books by these authors that I really enjoyed.

But it has made me so sad. Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2012 by Teecee
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant but one factual error
I bought this book on a whim and was not disappointed. The characters were well rounded and engaged me thoroughly as a reader. Read more
Published on 23 Jan 2012 by TS
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Greatly enjoyed this book. Could not actually put it down. Great great story would highly recommend.
Published on 4 Aug 2010 by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephanie Keating
Quite by accident I came by ths author and her sister Barbara Keating. Excellent book as is all their others. I couldn't put it down.
Published on 7 Nov 2009 by Mrs. Jacqueline Lyon
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