A bit of a slow read but an interesting story.
Noelle, daughter of London musical theatre celebrity Desiree, narrates the story. The settings range from England's London, Kent & Cornell, to France's Paris and its countryside. Set in the 1860's, the story does capture the excitement of theatre first nights, discovery of past civilizations (Roman ruins in Kent), and heritage. Deceit and manipulation, and their motives, are woven throughout the plot without judgement by the author, or the narrator. In my opinion, the global theme is that every action, regardless of the decision behind it, impacts others. The characters never come alive for me, but the sounds of the cities, the haunting loneliness of areas outside large cities, and the excitement of discoveries sustained my interest. I found myself wanting to research London theatrical history, France under the Bonapartes, and Roman forays into England. Narrator Noelle, for all her innocence, does have a cynical component to her personality, which she tries to suppress. Characters gain depth (but not life) through Noelle's faithful recounting of conversations with the other characters; everyone she knows has something to say about someone else she knows. In addition to these filtered reports, Noelle adds her own impressions of each character. On the whole, I enjoyed the book, and found myself looking forward to reading it, although I would not classify it a page-turner. Setting and theme were more provocative than character and story.
I had a hard time staying interested in this book in the beginning. It got better as it went on but was not one of my favorites.
Classic and beautiful example of Victoria Holt's work. Perfect for a cold winter's evening, or even a long lazy summer afternoon on the hammock!
not my favorite, but i enjoyed it.
Back cover: Noelle Tremaston has led a charmed yet unconventional life as the daughter of the infamous De'sire'e, darling of London stage. But the flurry and gaiety of Noelle's life crash to a halt when her mother takes in a struggling ingenue and disaster strikes. Suddenly, Noelle's world is changed forever, and she turns for solace to the man she loves. But the revelation of a dark secret forces Noelle to flee to Paris. Living among the bohemian artists and savoring her newfound joy, she discovers this world, too, is full of secrets, scandal, and untimely death...as the coming of World War I and a bizarre twist of fate lead Noelle back to her past...into unsolved mysteries...and into the arms of love...
Victoria Holt is always great for romance & suspense...diaster strikes Noelle's world & a dark secret forces her to flee to Paris. She finds joy but also discovers secrets, scandals, and death.
Victoria Holt is one of my favorite authors.