Top positive review
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Discover a magical part of France, in the mountains above Nice on the Côte d’Azur
on 4 January 2018
This is a wonderfully unique, quirky and cheeky read. I say that as I’ve had to wait a while after reading it until I knew what I wanted to write. Why so tricky?
There are lots of hidden gems in this book. Quite uniquely, it’s a novel and plot driven by place. Yes please! and there are plenty of them. It’s like a mini history lesson – from the London theatres and streets to the hilltop towns and bayous of the Cote d’Azur. Each chapter title is the name of a day in the 1793 French revolutionary calendar.
The author plays a lot in this novel – is it a mystery, a crime novel or a historical one?Well, all of them and more. For language fans out there, the register in the novel slides down from one end of the scale to another producing music to your ears. Village dialect to the Queen’s English or should that be the tongue of revolutionary France?
The story is a puzzle, a pass the parcel kind of read – unwrap the next part and you’re never quite sure what to expect. Once the music of the text stops, the discovery is neat.
And that’s before you get to the individual words: there are words in bold dotted through the text. These are words which the author has collected from crosswords he used to do and the story as it progresses, winds around them like vines on a wall…
Vines around a fountain in a forest you might say.