When I Was Young, Mary Fitzgerald

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1950

Eleanor is sixteen when she goes to the Loire Valley on a French Exchange. But the beauty of her surroundings are at odds with the family who live there. It is a family torn apart by the memories of the German occupation, and buckling under the burden of the dark secrets they keep.

Etienne, the dark and brooding owner is friendly, but his wife Mathilde’s malicious behaviour overshadows Eleanor’s days.

As the secrets reveal themselves one by one, Eleanor begins to understand the terrible legacy of war, and when death comes to the vineyard, she learns the redemptive power of love.

Publisher: Arrow Books, Jan 2014

Reviewer: Jen Kendell

A young farmer’s daughter, Eleanor is excited to be travelling abroad to such a romantic foreign country.  At her tender age she is impressionable and falls secretly for the handsome older and married man Etienne, though it’s  his son Jean Paul who causes her much upset and sadness.     The story is very well written – you can imagine the French countryside, feel the warm sun, taste the ripened grapes…  through all the drama and excitement, Eleanor still manages to find happiness.  The saying ‘Love conquers All’ certainly applies to this story and the ending brought a tear to my eye.

Mary Fitzgerald writes a good and believable story with a nice descriptive manner, which takes her with you into the lives of her characters.  I look forward to reading more from her.

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