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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise
Having read and enjoyed Birdsong and Charlotte Gray already, I for some reason wasn't expecting a great deal from The Girl at the Lion D'Or. I'm unsure why I thought this may be the case, but was pleased to realise my pre-conceptions were wrong.
The main characters, Anne and Hartmann are so convincing, I instantly became engrossed in this wonderful tale of desire,...
Published on 17 Mar 2003 by SSmith

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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hints of brilliance to come
Contrary to what some people seem to think, Birdsong was not a first novel. This book provides occasional flashes of what was to come in the Novel Faulks may spend his life trying to shake off.
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...
Published on 18 Feb 1999


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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hints of brilliance to come, 18 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
Contrary to what some people seem to think, Birdsong was not a first novel. This book provides occasional flashes of what was to come in the Novel Faulks may spend his life trying to shake off.
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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98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, 17 Mar 2003
By 
SSmith (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
Having read and enjoyed Birdsong and Charlotte Gray already, I for some reason wasn't expecting a great deal from The Girl at the Lion D'Or. I'm unsure why I thought this may be the case, but was pleased to realise my pre-conceptions were wrong.
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!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crosses boundaries, 22 Jan 2010
By 
Jane Baker "jan-bookcase" (Somerset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
Wondrous. It makes you ache to read it. I was reminded of so much outstanding literature: Camus, Ishiguro, and this had shades of both. I could almost touch Charles and Anne as I read their story. I felt their pain and I felt the ambience of France as Anne walked the streets. A simple, age-old story with existentialist moments and thought-provoking sentiments about a loss of a generation in WW1 leaving the gap which caused so much mess in French Government of the time. Christine was hard and incomplete - as she was in herself. Moving and bewildering in the honesty of Charles and the determination of Anne to break the cycle of her background. Finding a novel to follow this will be difficult. I may just read "Birdsong" again. I feel lost already now that I've closed the book and it's over.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An endearing little story, 15 Oct 2002
This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
Having read all of Sebastian Faulk's books now I can safely say I enjoyed none more that this one. Songbird and Charlotte Gray ooze Faulk's charming narrative style while delivering a harrowing and touching look at the arcane terror of wartime. In the girl from the Lion d'Or the reader is treated once more to this sophistocated plot scheme and character development. Faulk's treatment of love and sexual desire is again eye-opening , mixing the power of the soul with the weakness of the flesh. The story is developed at a faster rate than Charlotte Gray and the main characters Ann and Hartmann are presented to the reader in a way that every nuance of theirs is understood. The plot may seem a little thin to those used to the flowing themes of Birdsong but perseverance leads to a rewarding read topped of with a heart-tugging ending.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A delicately told but beautifully constructed novel, 17 Oct 2006
By 
Philip Murray (Consett, County Durham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Girl at the Lion D'or (Paperback)
This was my first venture into the work of Sebastian Faulks, and upon finishing it today I immediatly purchased Birdsong. The Girl at the Lion d'Or is a beautifully written story. The simplistic plot is not the selling-point of this book; instead, Faulks's excellent lexical phrasing and characterisation make it an excellent read. I found myself developing a genuine interest in what would happen on the next page and was really pulled deeper and deeper into the story as I read. I was so moved when arriving at the end of the book- a sad and emotional conclusion. I do recommend this book to anyone- it is superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trite and often frustrating, 31 Jan 2012
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Bought this kindle book as it had mixed reviews and I wanted to determine where my opinion would lie. I have read Birdsong and Charlotte Grey and this novel is not of the same standard, although I was drawn to read the entire novel. The plot (not sure I found one) was based on a love affair that appeared to be an older man's need to seduce a young vulnerable woman (an up-market Mills and Boon storyline). The characters were vague and did not generate any sympathy or empathy from me. There were several subplots such as the building work at the manor which had no apparent relevance to the story other than to link the two lovers and provide some common feature. The political references were laboured and what was the import of the visit to Paris to meet with some Minister? The ending left me very underwhelmed. I was expecting a more dramatic ending. It was like watching a series where you are left in limbo until the next series starts and wondering what happens to the two main characters. Overall, a disappointing read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and Loss, 2 July 2011
By 
Janet Cockerill "grandma" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
Time stood still for me in a recognizable rural France when I read this book. A love story between Hartmann an older, married man, established in his career with a professional life to maintain and Anne the lonely footloose waitress .
The descriptions of France are matchless and the characters involved carry the story through to a 'Brief Encounter' style ending where the reader is left to consider the final outcome.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An author coming into brilliance, 29 Oct 2010
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
A beautifully understated book, one reviewer described it as being like a Vermeer and it is very painterly with carefully deliniated characters. The scene is the small French village of Janvilliers, the time between the First and Second World Wars, and a young girl Anne come to take up the post of waitress at the hotel Lion D'Or traumatised by a loss unidentified until later on in the narrative but inextricably linked to the horrors of World War I and the slaughter of Verdun. She becomes drawn to Hartmann, recently married veteran living in his father's old manor house outside the town, and a gentle drama is drawn out backlit by the drama of France's road to Vichy and World War II, the quiet suffering of the millions of men that did make it back from the front and the memory of those who did not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TV drama.., 9 Feb 2013
This review is from: Girl At The Lion d'Or (Paperback)
This is a well-written page-turner and, as you would expect from Faulks, it shines brightest when detailing elements of the war. The air of tragedy-in-waiting permeates the whole book. While the townspeople, indeed the whole of France, is dreading the inevitable war that will come a few years down the line, the reader quakes with each boom and creak inside the mansion. It is not a difficult ending to imagine but that is I think precisely the point. It is as if the tide of history is dragging everyone towards a place they do not want to be.

The two central characters are delineated well but it was the bit-players that held my interest more. The story of the cafe's proprietor I would really like to read. All in all a novel you can get through without taxing the brain cells. It reminded me of a one-off drama you might come across while flicking TV channels one evening. Nothing wrong with that but I am not sure how long it will stick in my mind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A third read is imminent, 25 Nov 2011
Having enjoyed 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks I not only went on to read many other Faulks' novels, I also went on to read much of Pat Barker too (for the First World War setting), and Ernest Hemmingway. Indeed, written at the time, HGWells take you to a similar place.

And this I find myself reading 'The Girl at the Lion D'Or'.

As is too often the case I realise half-way through I have read it before; I should know the characters and recall the events and outcome: I don't. In fact, I am compelled as much to read it for the story as to satisfy this nagging feeling that I know something dreadful or beautiful is about to happen as if I have a premonition.

There are some wonderful interludes, as if Faulks wove in some short stories and character vvignettes that weren't going to endure as novels. (There's a nifty idea).

I want to talk about this lovely story, how Anne comes from Paris to work at the Hotel Lion D'Or. Who and what she is touches many lives, she is a catalyst for misbehaviour, action and change. These are moments for you to discover for yourself.
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Girl At The Lion d'Or
Girl At The Lion d'Or by Sebastian Faulks (Paperback - 18 Oct 1990)
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