- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 4671 KB
- Print Length: 354 pages
- Publisher: B A Spicer; 3 edition (20 Nov. 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00G04DWWS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #452,918 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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A Life Lived Twice Kindle Edition
|Length: 354 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
I was hooked straight away. The sleepy charm of the French village and the relationships between its inhabitants are all really well drawn. And the character we meet first, Martha, appeals to me with her brave decision to move to France alone to live the life she wants after her marriage collapses.
But this book isn’t a jolly light summer read about British people abroad. It’s far darker and deeper than that. There’s the creepy Claude, whose obsession with a childhood friend, and strange career choice make for a very chilling character; Felix Dumas, a villain that you desperately want to get his just desserts; spoilt, selfish Angeline, who is so intent on her ambitions that she fails to see, and almost loses, what she already has; and unreliable Clement, who I wanted to hate, but whose touching dedication to his father made me warm to him. All these characters, and more, are woven together in a narrative that is intelligent, engrossing and a real pleasure to read.
This isn’t a book with a fast-paced plot, lots of excitement and dramatic twists and turns, but it is no less compelling for that. It is a well-crafted, thoughtful book about people, the choices they make, the secrets they keep, the obsessions that drive them and the paths they choose.
My only gripe is that, having become invested in Martha’s story, I felt that I lost her about half way through; she became simply part of the larger cast of characters, rather than the centre around which the others revolved. Aside from that, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book.
4-5 out of 5 stars.
The book intrigued me because of the description and the setting. We all seem to expect crime, and crime novels, to be set in big cities, but when evil hides in a small, picturesque and peaceful town, it seems worse. As if evil had no place in such environment. It’s true that it’s perhaps more difficult to hide in a small and idyllic French town, but some manage to hide in plain sight.
The novel, written in the third person, is told from the point of view of a large number of characters, from the “evil” character hinted at in the description, the undertaker’s son of the title, Claude, to Patrice, a young student who ends up being more central to the plot than it seems at first. The author allows us to peer into the heads of her characters, and this is sometimes a very agreeable experience (like in the case of Martha Burton, the British divorcee out to create a new life for herself in France, who despite disappointments in love, is fairly happy), and at others, an utterly terrifying one. Apart from Claude, who has no redeeming qualities, and Patrice, who is a nice young man without any shades, all the rest of the characters are all too human, they hesitate, they are morally ambiguous at times, and even downright immoral. Felix Dumas, the crook, is utterly dislikeable, but even he has some redeeming qualities (he does not understand his son, but seems to love him, and he tells Claude not to take drastic measures. He does not want anyone killed.Read more ›
The story opens with Claude Cousteau reliving a time in his childhood when he was helping his father, who was an undertaker, to dress and prepare bodies for viewing. An unhealthy obsession began to take hold of Claude and he had to satisfy his macabre desire to know how it would feel when a person’s life force was extinguished by his hand.
Claude is a man who doesn’t feel the need for friends or relationships and lives a solitary life. The only person who has had an impact on his life is Felix Dumas, the son of his father’s friend. Felix had been kind to the young Claude, and Claude holds Felix in high regard. Now a prominent lawyer, Felix is not above shady dealings but regardless, Claude makes it his business to ‘help’ Felix whenever he can.
Claude is a complex and chilling character, more so because he’s so focused on safeguarding, as he sees it, the person he’s fixated with, whether or not that person wants Claude’s help.
Martha Burton, a British divorcee, has lived in France for almost two years, in the picturesque village of St. Martin-le-Vieux, teaching English. Dissatisfied in her relationship with Michel, and because of her work, she begins to make more friends in the local community. Looking for a special tree for her garden brings her into contact with Guy Roche and his wife, Angeline, which in turn leads to more characters being introduced.
I like the distinctive ‘Frenchness’ of the village, the sense of community, and the convoluted and unexpected way people’s lives can overlap. It was intriguing and I enjoyed the first and last parts of the book, wondering where the story would take me, but for some reason I kept losing concentration and connection with the characters during the middle section. I think perhaps it felt a little slow and didn’t completely work for me. The concluding scenes, however, bring everything to a disturbingly believable conclusion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another well written story with well rounded characters.
The suspense builds throughout the story to a climax that was shocking, yet totally believable.
In a picturesque seaside town in Southern France, past and present come together with fatal results.
In B.A. Read more
Bev Spicer creates yet more unforgettable characters. Her description of life in a small French community is so accurate. I should know ! I also live in South West France. Read morePublished on 13 Nov. 2013 by Fred
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