Lucinda Riley spins a cracking good yarn. Her books are never going to change the world, but for a few days of engrossing reading, I find them unbeatable. I read and reviewed ‘The Midnight Rose‘ last year and I enjoyed ‘The Light Behind the Window‘ just as much.
When her mother dies, Emillie inherits a large fortune, including a house in Paris and a country château. Unmarried and with no other immediate family, she feels overwhelmed by the decisions and choices she has to make regarding the estate. When Sebastian, an English arts dealer, sweeps her off her feet, she is reassured by his competence. The couple discover that they have a common link, as Seb’s grandmother (Connie) spent much of World War 2 in France and was acquainted with Emillie’s father, Edouard de Martinières. Once married to Sebastian, Emillie divides her time between France and her husband’s family home, a large but shabby house in Yorkshire. As the renovations to the château begin, Emillie unearths secrets which reveal she may not be as alone in the world as she believes.
The novel is told in alternate timeframes, Connie’s and Emillie’s. Their characters are not deeply developed as the story is moved along largely through the plot, which has a great many twists and turns. Although the WW2 elements of the book clearly have some basis in fact, there are a number of unlikely coincidences; but I didn’t care. This is like Enid Blyton for grown-ups and, every once in a while, a fairy tale is just the escape from reality I need.