Ever since I had the good fortune to fall upon a blog tour for The Secret Life of Arthur Pettigrew I have looked out for other works by Suzanne Fortin. It was such a well researched and emotional piece of historical fiction, it became one of my books of that year. Since then she has published two more novels, All That We Have Lost and now this novel, another piece of history from WW2 with an emotive dual-timeline story woven throughout. In 2022 we meet Rhoda Sullivan who works as a stained glass expert, called in by museums to value, then oversee and conserve important works in glass. She”s tasked to go to Telton Hall and assess a stained glass window that dates to WW2 and was designed by an Italian POW. There she end up at an impasse when the gates are blocked by an elderly man in a tractor, Jack is the hall’s last inhabitant and he’s lived there all his life. He’s making a final protest about the development at the hall, but his son Nate arrives to help Rhoda gain access. With Nate, Rhoda makes a terrible discovery – a body under the chapel’s flagstones. It has a huge effect on Rhoda who imagines someone missing this person, just as she still misses her twin brother who disappeared before their 18th birthday. A decade on she still looks for him everywhere,
In 1945 we are taken to Somerset and a young woman called Alice Renshaw. Alice is alone and pregnant. Shes been sent to a farm in Somerset where Louise Hartwell is running things with the help of POW’s. As well as the farm work, Louise helps young pregnant women. Alice soon starts to make friends, but not everyone at the hall is happy about this. As peace is declared, the war at Telton Hall is just beginning.
I’ve just started the book and I’m already hooked by Alice’s story and I love how the author pulls us straight back into the 1940’s with only a few lines. I am also fascinated by Rhoda’s job and the making and restoration of stained glass. I heartily recommend this author, even though I’ve only read a few chapters I know I’m in safe hands. If you love historical fiction and haven’t already encountered her work, go grab her first novel. You won’t regret it.
Meet The Author
Suzanne writes historical fiction, predominantly dual timeline and set in France. Her books feature courageous women in extraordinary circumstances with love and family at the heart of all the stories.
Suzanne also writes mystery and suspense as Sue Fortin where she is a USA Today bestseller and Amazon UK #1 and Amazon US #3 bestseller. She has sold over a million copies of her books and been translated into multiple languages.