About the Book
Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots.
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire is raped and threatened by her Marquis master, and must abandon her newborn, Rubie, on the church steps. Accused of a heinous crime, Victoire is imprisoned in La Salpêtrière mental asylum, where she bonds with fellow prisoner, Jeanne de Valois – conwoman of the infamous Necklace Affair that brought down Queen Marie Antoinette. She dreams of escaping the asylum but wonders if the price of freedom – losing Jeanne – is worth it.
Enmeshed in the fervour of the 1789 Bastille storming, Victoire hears the name ‘Rubie’ called. Could her foundling daughter be alive, and living in Paris?
Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of a bone angel talisman passed down through generations of women of L’Auberge des Anges. Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, it is a testament to the courage of women facing tragedy, betrayal and insanity.
Format: Paperback, ebook (378 pp.) Publisher: Perrat Publishing
Published: 11th May 2012 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find Spirit of Lost Angels on Goodreads
In Spirit of Lost Angels, the author certainly puts her heroine through the mill! Not to give too much away (although most of it’s in the book blurb), poor Victoire suffers poverty and near starvation, bereavement of close family members, rape, physical assault, false accusation, imprisonment and abduction. Her experiences are played out against the turbulent backdrop of the French Revolution with Victoire witnessing some of the climatic events such as the storming of the Bastille. I really liked the walk-on parts for real life figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Mary Wollstonecraft and the references to political and philosophical thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau.
It’s a ripping yarn that fairly zips along but with some well-researched and fascinating detail about life for those living in poverty in the countryside and in the squalid streets of Paris. Here, the poor of the city exist cheek by jowl with the nobility who, in contrast, live a life of luxury, extravagance, debauchery and excess. Some of the most powerful scenes in the book take place in La Salpêtrière mental asylum – the descriptions of the treatment of the inmates being truly chilling.
During the course of the book, Victoire evolves from innocent abroad to persecuted and friendless girl, to informed and cultured young woman – not forgetting her role as angel of vengeance, of course. The author keeps the reader on tenterhooks to find out if Victoire will eventually find peace and contentment and be reunited with the daughter she was forced to abandon.
I received a review copy courtesy of the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the second book in my 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge. You can see the complete list here.
In three words: Colourful, dramatic, action-packed
Try something similar…A Pearl for my Mistress by Annabel Fielding (read my review here)
About the Author
Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Since completing a creative writing course ten years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the French historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII Nazi Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015. The Silent Kookaburra, a 1970s Australian psychological suspense novel, was published in November, 2016. Friends, Family and Other Strangers is a collection of humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia.
Liza is a founding member of the Author Collective, Triskele Books and regularly reviews books for Bookmuse.
To receive a FREE copy of Ill-fated Rose, the short story that inspired ‘The Bone Angel’ series, sign up for Liza’s newsletter here.
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