"There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned."
When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.
“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.
“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”
During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.
“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”
Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.
Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?
The first thing that grabbed me about this book was the cover. Whoever the cover artist was they did a spectacular job of making it eye catching! Michele Phoenix was a new author to me but once I saw the story was internationally set (the whole book takes place in France and England), I was in!
Having never read anything by this author before I didn't really have any expectations going in. I'll be honest. It took a little while for me to get into the story. Probably about fifty pages or so. The story opens with the day of the terrorist attack and a lot of flashbacks fill the early pages. Because of this it took me a little while to get into the cadence of Jessica's point of view but once I did I was hooked!
Alternating between Jessica's journey trying to recover from both her physical injuries and PTSD and the persecution of the Huguenots hundreds of years before I could not put this story down and read it in two days. The second day being waking at 3am and not being able to get back to sleep until I finished it. I couldn't even tell you the last time that happened! I was particularly riveted by the story of Adeline, the 16th century Huguenot women whose story is told through diary entries and learning about a horrible, yet inspiring, time in history that I had never heard about before.
As a mix of historical fiction and women's fiction with a thread of romance there would be something in this story to appeal to many readers. I'm thrilled to have found a great new author. The first thing I did when I finished was order her previous book!
What about you? What book has recently surprised you recently?