21 June 2013

Thursday's Review: Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat

The book was provided by the author in exchange for a review. 

Publication Date: June 2, 2012
Publisher:  Self Published
Price: $4.38 eBook from Amazon only
           No longer available in paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

After reading numerous mystery/thrillers, lately I have been on an Historical Fiction bent.  I have been in love with HF since I was in my teams and first read the books of James Michener, Kathleen Woodiweiss, and Jean Plaidy.  There is just something about reading a book that takes you back in time and allows you to feel, hear, smell, etc., what life was like for the people in that time period. I love immersing myself in other cultures and time in this way.  Liza Perrat's debut novel, Spirit of Lost Angels certainly fits this bill.

As soon as I began reading the book, I instantly fell in love with the heroine, Victoire Charpentier.  In a time when women were largely illiterate and considered as possessions, Victoire is an exception.  Not only is she able to read and write, courtesy of her mother, but she also possesses a strong personality.  I really enjoy books where the author uses women with strong personalities in order to illustrate how exceptional this occurrence was in medieval times.  In fact, this book was filled with strong female characters.  In addition to Victoire, there was her mother, the village midwife and healer, who insisted that her daughter learn to read and write in a time where that was not an acceptable skill for women.  Another great female character in the book was Jean de Valois.  Jean is, in fact a historical character, and while actual knowledge of how she thought and felt is hard to come by, in this case the author did a wonderful job of giving her a personality that fit her persona.

The story presented here was also top-notch.  Through the eyes of Victoire, her family, and the many acquaintances that she makes through out her life, I felt that I was able to really get a good feeling for life in France during the time of the French Revolution.  Her joys and pains were my joys and pains. Her confusion and depression were so well written,  that I was immersed in the agony right along with her.  In addition, the author's descriptions of life in France were wonderful.  I really felt like I was in the small village of Lucie, the dungeons of a French prison, and the streets of Paris.  Most of the books that I have read regarding this time period were from the perspective of the aristocracy or royalty and I really enjoyed being able to look at things from the perspective of the average French citizen.  In this respect, I cannot believe there is a book that does a better job.

On finishing the book I was excited to find that it was the first in a trilogy of books about the women of the Charpentier family.  In fact, I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, which is about the French Resistance during WWII.  I am giving this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and it is going on my highly recommended list.


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