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Spirit of Lost Angels Kindle Edition
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Spirit of Lost Angels is the story of Victoire Charpentier. Born in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne in rural 18th century France during the years leading up to the French Revolution, she lives with her parents and siblings. Madam Charpentier is a healer and the local midwife, her husband a carpenter travelling from town to town plying his trade. A fierce storm when Victoire was six years old brought about a terrible tragedy and the family’s fortunes are about to take a devastating turn for the worst. Victoire is forced to take a domestic position in Paris, with a letter of recommendation from the village priest.
Victoire’s troubles are only just beginning. She is now at the mercy of her employer, the Marquis de Barberon. Her belief in the cruelty and indifference of the aristocracy to the common people, born when her father was killed, only intensified and chafed. It was wholly due to the help of Claudine, the cook, she survived the Marquis’ visits and the eventual outcome.
Victoire’s life is filled with tragedy, loss, betrayal and horror. She also experiences happiness and joy, especially when she is in Lucie at L’Auberge des Anges, the inn she and her husband, Armand, began together. But nothing lasts and Victoire is soon again in the direst of circumstances.
After Victoire’s meeting in the dreaded La Salpêtrière Asylum, and subsequent friendship, with the notorious Jeanne de Valois, her resolve to raise awareness of the plight of women only grew. I enjoyed Victoire’s exchanges of letters with Jeanne and Mary Wollstonecraft, both of whom are not fictional, as another way to convey their thoughts on the state of affairs.
Liza Perrat brings the history (obviously researched in depth), the sights, sounds and vast differences between the rich and poor of pre revolution France to life skilfully. Along with village life and Parisian society, there are wonderfully drawn and fascinating characters, realistic dialogue and some shocking scenes. Beautifully written and vividly described, the volatility of the political climate and the plight of women are shown to great effect.
Spirit of Lost Angels in the first in The Bone Angel trilogy, following the women of the Charpentier family, named for the bone angel protective talisman given to Victoire by her mother and passed down through the generations.
I chose to read and review Spirit of Lost Angels for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.
But I don't love this. I just can't recommend it much as I want to. Why? It lacks the writer's tools of: engage, cut the description and move on the pace.
There is so much here that could be brilliant. I loved the scenes in the prison and meeting the well-known and real Comtesse. If only the book had started there and made a gripping plot just out of that...
Only it does not. We get a long run in of childhood which gives little flavour of the action to come. By the time we get to the Necker affair we are in the middle of the book - and just as that grabs us we go back for a tearful reunion back home on the farm.
With a redraft and an edit...cutting out a chunk of the start...this writer has a super subject and period. The action and pace just lets it down.
Reviewed for Rosie Amber's Book Review Team. I was supplied with an ARC for an honest review, for which I will receive no payment.
Spirit of Lost Angels is Liza Perrat's debut novel, and revolves around Victoire Charpentier, a peasant living in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. It is linked to the later book, Blood Rose Angel, by the bone angel talisman passed down through generations. This first novel in the trilogy takes place in the years leading up to the French Revolution.
Victoire's life is one of tragic events indeed, as she loses those she loves to accident, illness, the danger and politics of the times, and at the careless hands of the nobility. Cast into a brutal Parisian prison, she meets the notorious Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Remy who inspires within her the fire of revolution; I liked the inclusion of a real-life character in this work of fiction. All the way through the book I appreciated the amount of research that has gone into writing this novel ~ such an entertaining way to fill in the gaps in my education. I enjoyed reading about the lives of the rural peasants in the beginning of the book, and comparing this with the medieval life in Lucie, four hundred years earlier, in Blood Rose Angel.
Throughout the book, the gaping chasm between the lives of the poor and those of the ludicrously self-indulgent aristocracy is always evident; it was most interesting to read the thoughts of the time about the general lot of women, and, as in the medieval story, the restrictions due to social mores and religious belief/superstition. Victoire lives many lives in her short one, and I was pleased to see return to Lucie, and reunite with the family she had longed for, for so many years, and to see wrongs overturned.
Showing the history of a country via the changes in one village over a period of six hundred years is such a great idea, and I now look forward to reading the third book in the trilogy, Wolfsangel, which is set during World War Two.
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