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The House at Zaronza by [Couchman, Vanessa]
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The House at Zaronza Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Length: 264 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 630 KB
  • Print Length: 264 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing (25 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00M5A0U6C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,931 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This summer I read the wonderful historical novel set in Corsica, The House At Zaronza. I’ve always wanted to visit this island so I eagerly soaked up the scenery and atmosphere as I read. I was also completely absorbed in the story. It is a well written love story that unfolds through letters discovered nearly a century after they were written. I sometimes hesitate to use the phrase ‘love story’ as it creates an impression of a story that’s soppy and clichéd. But this novel is anything but that - it’s passionate and heartrending as well as tender.
I was fascinated by the skilful way the author evokes the patriarchal Corsican society and creates a main character who quietly challenges it. The place is vividly brought to life and Maria, the main character is believable – she could be a flesh and blood person. It was very easy to lose myself in this novel. The story moved me and it really was a step back into a world that’s now gone. I felt privileged to have a glimpse into it and I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good, gripping story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’ve never been to Corsica, but the descriptions the author gives of the wild and rugged coastline and untamed mountains gave me a detailed image in my mind, which was perfect as the backdrop to the turbulent storyline. It has also made me determined to visit one day.

The story begins in the present when a young woman arrives in Corsica trying to piece together her past, but with almost all links extinguished can she shed any light on what happened? All Rachel has to go on is that her grandmother lived in Zaronza and her name was Maria, and she hopes that by staying there it will help solve the mystery. What she finds on arrival at the guesthouse is another mystery involving the love letters between a schoolmaster and his secret lover. Rachel is certain that by trying to unravel this story she will find answers to her own past.

Rachel uncovers a memoir and we find ourselves in the remarkable life of an extraordinary woman, who defied what was considered the norms for a lady of her position. She wasn’t afraid to stand alone and act to make a difference. She suffered, both at the hands of those she loved and from the circumstances she found herself in, but she was always caring and determined. The story was powerfully written and gripping. The characters were strong and believable. It covered a fascinating period of history from an unusual angle, highlighting the role of a woman from Corsica during the First World War. This book was like unwrapping a parcel, as every layer unfolded it added a little more, but always leaving so much more to discover.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and I’m looking forward to reading more from Vanessa.
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This is a gem of a book, starting in the present, and seamlessly moving back to the days when women were chattels. The setting is the lovely island of Corsica, described with loving sensitivity:
"Small clouds sat as if anchored above the mountains of the cape, and the landscape in the distance shimmered in the haze."
And there is the ever-present scent of the aromatic 'maquis'.
There are moving, vivid scenes of what it was like as a nurse behind the front lines in France during the First World War, when the doctors insist on seeing a wound after the nurse has just painstakingly bandaged it up, told through the eyes of Maria, a Corsican woman who merely desired to do her bit - and also to find a long lost lover.
"Black, bare trees raised skeletal branches, and the landscape was drained of colour. Even the grass looked grey."
But even Maria grows to understand the raison d'etre of pillaging a bombed-out shop. "We don't want to leave it for the Boche, do we?"
A moving love story and an unsung heroine; It all comes nicely full circle as a 21st century woman unravels tenuous links to an ancestor. I have so enjoyed reading this story, especially poignant in a year when past catastrophes are commemorated.
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An enchanting and compelling story of a doomed love affair set against the backdrop of a strict moral society and the horrors of World War 1. As Rachel searches for more information about Maria, her Corsican grandmother, she uncovers the story of another Maria, born a generation earlier and ultimately closely connected with Rachel's own grandmother.
The author's love and knowledge of Corisca shine from this book as the reader is swept up in Maria's struggle to break free of the chains that bind her to the island culture.
I look forward to reading more from this author.
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I was entranced by Vanessa Couchman’s tale of the discoveries that Rachel Swift makes when she travels to Corsica to discover more about her forebears. We are swept first into the rich setting of Corsica today, and then into the past arising from some love letters that lead to a tale told against the end of the 19th century and through the horrors of the First World War.
I felt strongly for the main character of Maria, who went through so much in her life against the backdrop of a Corsica and a world that were changing. I couldn’t put the novel down.
The landscape becomes a deeply portrayed character itself, full of wonderful descriptions of sight like the mountain views, the sounds of the people and churches, the tastes like the Eau de Vie made of myrtle berries, and the smell of maquis. As the tale unfolds, the words are full of personal poetry, tragedy and misunderstandings.
A highly recommended, whether you want historical or romance. I look forward to Vanessa’s next visit to Corsica.
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