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A Place In The Hills Paperback – 14 May 2001
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Love in the hills of Provence echoes a tragic love affair of long ago.
Capturing the beauty and pain of two extraordinary love affairs separated by a gulf of 2000 years, this book explores true emotion, loss and the healing power of forgiveness.See all Product description
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My only criticism was the jacket, which I'm afraid does not reflect the quality of the content - had I seen this in a shop (rather than been passed it on recommendation) I probably wouldn't have bought it. I would have missed a treat. Why do publishers think intelligent fiction has to be packaged like a packet of sweets?? Trust the female buying public, please! I have now read Ms Paver's first novel too and judge her to be one of the most talented contemporary women's fiction writers currently writing in England. Please try her for yourself. She doesn't disappoint.
This earlier book is markedly different; effectively intercutting two love stories, one set in Ancient Rome, and the second across a period of thirteen years primarily between the 1980s and 90s in France. The Roman story is of the love between a soldier poet and the independent-minded daughter of one of the major patrician families. Marriages are not made across such divides, and discovered affairs are likely to lead to the death of one or both.
The later story is set around an archaeological dig, trying to uncover the mystery behind a goddess cult, and the life, and poetic works of Cassius, the soldier-poet mentioned above, whose bitter love poems to `Lycaris' piqued the interest of scholars arguing over whether `Lycaris' was a real woman or just a poetic construct.
The people involved in the dig are pretty well all patrician, except for an American, a graduate from Oxbridge, a scholarship boy. The Roman story begins to have certain parallels.
This was an enjoyable read, but, still, not quite what I had hoped it would be. It is a very intelligently written romance of star crossed lovers, but, still, this is not a genre I am particularly drawn to.
Paver absolutely writes well, creates interesting character even if not every relationship is quite believable, and the intercut story flowed well. However I found the friendship between upright, moral Patrick and louche, feckless, wastrel Myles more than a little difficult to quite believe, and likewise, the connection between Myles and pretty well anyone. What I was expecting though, indeed hoping for, was the strange power, passion, psychological depth and believably `dark force' of her Polar set book. I think if I had had read this first, I may not have read Dark Matter. But then, without having read THAT book, I wouldn't, probably, have read this.
Well done, but it is, still, a little too `genre' for my tastes
Rounded up to 4, rather than an it's okay three, as I think if you like romances, this IS one with quite a lot of punch and not just written to predictable formula
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