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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab First Novel
I like books which grip the reader from the first page. Susan Louineau has the priceless gift of being able to do just that. I particularly enjoyed the way she wove three different periods of history together to present a compelling and exciting plot. Well researched, thoughtfully and confidently written, obviously a labour of love. An absolute steal at 1.50.
Published on 17 April 2012 by The Depot Cat

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There was so much potential here
The Chapel in the Woods – Susan Louineau

English Diana and her French (fireman) husband, Serge together with their young son, Ben have bought their idyllic home in the country to get away from the rat-race of Paris. Their home: Champ de Foire in rue Mongommery.

This should be a new start for both of them, but their relationship starts...
Published 5 months ago by ronix


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab First Novel, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
I like books which grip the reader from the first page. Susan Louineau has the priceless gift of being able to do just that. I particularly enjoyed the way she wove three different periods of history together to present a compelling and exciting plot. Well researched, thoughtfully and confidently written, obviously a labour of love. An absolute steal at 1.50.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 5 April 2012
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J. Lapham (Penzance) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
Really enjoyed Chapel in the Woods and was sad to reach the end. Following three different stories in three different eras becomes easier the more you read especially as they all start to tie in as you near the end. I'd recommend it to everyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars French frollicking!, 9 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book. The three storylines kept things interesting and showed a willingness by the author to try and create something special. Covering three different time periods in the same book shows some skill, and I think for a first novel this was pretty ambitious.

The stories are woven together by their rural French location, and each is told in a pleasing style; clever but also subtle. I enjoyed Diana's story the most, with her emotional toing and froing over her family's new life in a French village. With her story being the most modern it is here where the reader gets to do the most guessing as to how all three stories are entwined in the end.

I am looking forward to this writer's next book, as The Chapel in the Woods shows an author with bags of potential.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read it twice, 14 May 2012
This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
This is a wonderful story and one that can be read and re-read as there is something new to discover on each visit. Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked!, 8 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
In some ways a great novel resembles a love affair. While it is going on you can think of nothing else and when it is over you feel bereft. The Chapel in the Woods is one such novel.

It begins with a car accident. Diane Lescure crashes her car on the very first day she arrives in the village of Saint Gabriel in rural France.
Diane's story is the main thread of the novel. She is English but married to a Frenchman, Serge, and with a young son, Ben. Her attempts to adapt to the extremely conservative life of rural France, and to be a perfect wife to her chauvinist husband seemed doomed to failure from the start. As she struggles to achieve the impossible, we are also given glimpses of other times.
The Canterbury monk, Edward, fleeing from retribution for his betrayal of the archbishop, arrived in the village in the late 12th century and was abandoned in the woods.
Hélène Godard, English but a fluent French speaker is parachuted into the village during the Second World War as an organiser for the Résistance.
These tales in the background threading in and out of the main narrative add depth and imagery to the story, each emphasising the narrow-minded attitudes of the villagers and the corruption of the local government. It seems that little has changed in the centuries between the events.
I loved each one.

It is rare to come across such accomplished writing. The skill with which Ms Louineau handles the three time frames is masterly. It appears effortless to the reader, as all great skill does.
I could not fault this novel. It is perfect in plot, pacing, characterisation and language. An absolute delight to read, and one of the very best books I have read in my life (and I have read thousands).
It is hard to believe that it is a first novel but I can find no record of her publishing any other work. I sincerely hope she intends to do so. I, for one, am hooked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There was so much potential here, 12 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
The Chapel in the Woods – Susan Louineau

English Diana and her French (fireman) husband, Serge together with their young son, Ben have bought their idyllic home in the country to get away from the rat-race of Paris. Their home: Champ de Foire in rue Mongommery.

This should be a new start for both of them, but their relationship starts disintegrating, leaving Diana to wonder about her future. While trying to sort out her life, she starts picking up hints of the past and it’s here that we start learning about Edward, a young monk who fled Canterbury and after being dumped in the forest, is rescued by Clothilde, a young peasant girl and also about Helene Godard (parachuted into the area to help the French Resistance during WW2).

Unfortunately, I found this book cumbersome. I would have loved to hear the story of the monk expanded. Also that of Helene. To me – Diana’s story was just about a one dimensional person, going through a marriage crisis, whereas the monk & resistance worker had beautiful characters and in their own right, could have each been two full stories. I felt that they came alive in the few chapters they were allowed to “tell their story”.

I always get upset when I see us, non-authors, give one or two stars to someone’s painstaking hours work to present us with a story, so I hope if the author reads this, they realise that I’m trying to be constructive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!! couldn't put it down., 19 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book - I loved the intertwining nature of the stories!
Having now finished I am now missing the characters, would love a prequel; how did they get to where they were when we pick them up? I have my thoughts but would love to read another book Susan Louineau.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional first novel, 20 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
Still can't believe these things cost so little! Confidently written, brilliant research I found it a joy from start to finish - loved it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing mystery, 23 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed 'The Chapel in the Woods', a mystery set in rural modern-day France - a village and its inhabitants still affected by events in its medieval and wartime history. The interwoven timelines build layers of intrigue while the clearly defined characters are engaging, interesting and authentic. The descriptive passages create superbly vivid images for the reader, enveloping one with the atmosphere of each era while switching between each one smoothly.

Very much looking forward to it being published in paperback - she said hopefully! E-reading is all very wonderful for travelling - I read the book on a mixture of iPhone and iPad and much prefer the old fashioned kind of books! But it is testament to the cracking story that I persevered with my tiddly iPhone version :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Colourful Tapestry of Characters, Adventures and Historical Eras., 13 May 2012
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This review is from: The Chapel in the Woods (Kindle Edition)
The Chapel in the Woods is a surprisingly good first novel whose hero is really the French village in which it is set. I enjoyed this opportunuity to peek into a place that was different from any I have personally known.
Diana Lescure, the modern-day protagonist, became a friend whose life and thoughts and relationships mattered to me. The adventures of the other two communities of characters from different times in the history of the lively French village were expertly woven in with those of Diana's community. As connections between the three different stories became apparant, at first subtly, later unfolding with delightful clarity, my excitement mounted. At one point, reading my kindle on the beach, I let out an involuntary exclamation at an unexpected turn of events.
When I finished the book, I had that sense of being both fulfilled and bereft that is the parting gift of a particularly good read.
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