I recently finished this beautiful written story of love, loss, twist, turns, culture and couture. Mrs Grace Monroe is a slightly bored middle class house wife in post war mid fifties Britain. Life had taken the usual route but lacked something, she had the successful husband but something was lacking, she had the London house, party invites, social niceties but something was lacking. Grace received a letter from a Parisian Lawyers office informing her she was the sole beneficiary of a substantial Estate of the late Eva d’Orsey ….. trouble was Grace had no idea who this stranger was, so why leave her anything?
Eva was living in ‘Gay Paree”, in an palatial old apartment, a gift to her from her married amour of many years, a place for their liaisons, decadent parties and life full of colour and perfume. But she had started a long way from there, in very different circumstances.
When a book has two story lines travelling side by side it can sometimes get jumbled as you try and keep track, but this was so expertly done that Eva’s story through the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s and Grace’s on primarily 1955, never get confused. Chapters end with a hint of suspense, a tease of plot and a clue you want to remember. The tone as each of the two leading ladies take us through their journey adds to the imagery of their worlds.
As the book progresses you can work out the twists but this in no way takes away from the story, and as it ended I could see the hint of hopefully what might happen in the next unwritten chapter.
I have a hunch this maynot be the only Kathleen Tessaro book to pass before my eyes.