Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for You Let Me Go by Eliza Graham which will be published on 25th March 2021. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Lake Union Publishing for my digital review copy via NetGalley.
I’m delighted to say there’s a giveaway with a chance to win one of three paperback copies of You Let Me Go. Enter via Rafflecopter here.
Giveaway Terms and Conditions:
- UK and USA entries only.
- The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email.
- If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner.
- Open to entrants aged 18 or over.
- Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.
- What Cathy Read Next is not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Book
After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall – while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?
When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heart-breaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?
Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?
Format: ebook (316 pages) Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication date: 25th March 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find You Let Me Go on Goodreads
Links provided for convenience only, not as part of an affiliate programme
The story that unfolds in You Let Me Go is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Rozenn and her granddaughter Morane, transporting the reader between Nazi occupied France in World War Two and present day Cornwall – the Helford River area to be precise. Having been fortunate enough to visit that part of Cornwall in the past, I could easily imagine the creeks described in the book.
For quite a while the reader knows more about Rozenn’s experiences than Morane does but it’s still interesting to witness Morane piecing together the fragments of information she discovers about her family’s history.
Beyond the obvious blood relationship between Rozenn and Morane, I admired the way the author introduced other more subtle connections between the two women such as their natural flair for design and appreciation for architecture. Most significantly, they share an abiding sense of guilt for their part in events that were, in some cases, not their fault. ‘Guilt could wind its fingers around you and refuse to let you go.’
The book also explores the often difficult relationships between siblings: the rivalry for parental affection; the burden of responsibility for care of younger members of the family; the similarities that can remind you only too painfully of your own shortcomings or flaws. At the same time, the story includes joyful family moments, often recorded in photographs or through treasured objects.
Being a historical fiction fan, I found myself particularly drawn to the parts of the book dealing with Rozenn’s wartime experiences and the realities of daily life under German occupation. However, I could also understand Morane’s curiosity about her grandmother’s past, if only as a distraction from the situation in which she currently finds herself – a failed relationship, financial worries and a struggling business. As Morane describes, ‘I felt an urge to delve into Rozenn’s past, find out who’d she’d been before she’d become an architect, a wife, a mother and grandmother’.
On her arrival in the Breton village to which her grandmother’s family fled from Paris during the war, Morane is perhaps fortunate to find people who were around at the time or can pass on the recollections of older family members. As the two storylines converge, the final pieces of the historical jigsaw fall into place revealing the complete picture, as well as some neat links between past and present. In fact, you could say Rozenn designed the perfect ending to ensure any rifts that might remain are healed.
You Let Me Go is an absorbing story of family secrets and how choices made in the past can reverberate down the years.
In three words: Dramatic, emotional, intriguing
Try something similar: The Spanish Girl by Jules Hayes
About the Author
Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction. Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.
Eliza is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.
It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.
Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.