Thursday, March 1, 2018

Book review of Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy

French Village Diaries book review Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy
Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy
I have an extra review on the blog today as it's release day for Sea of Memoires, the latest novel by Fiona Valpy.

I have waited a long time for a new release from Fiona, her previous three novels, set among the Bordeaux vineyards, were great reads so I was initially a little worried about the possibility of disappointment, if this new novel didn’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully Sea of Memories, although totally different to her previous books, didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Set partially among the sand dunes and Atlantic coast beaches of the Ile de Ré, just off the coast from La Rochelle, this book also takes us to Paris and Scotland as it covers the years when Europe was torn apart by war and the lives of three young friends Ella, Caroline and Christophe were changed forever. This is a story of love in its many different forms, including grief and pain, and of the realisation of what love truly means, that only comes with age and wisdom. It is so beautifully written you will cry.

Art is a big theme running through this book and we meet artists whose creations are brought to life through Fiona’s words, but woven cleverly throughout are also the topics of women at war, the SOE missions into Occupied France, works of art being hidden during the war years, the plight of the Jews, childhood polio, family feuds and autism. This may sound like a lot of things to pack into one book, but it works, as each theme is treated with respect and sensitivity.

I consumed every page, always hungry for more; more of Ella’s story set in the past, more from the beautiful Ile de Ré and more of Kendra’s story today, as she painstakingly sorts through her grandmother’s memories and pieces together a life that is filled with love and loss, all the while living with her own troubled emotions.

Writing this review in those mushy emotional hours that sometimes hit you when you have just finished a great book, I would go so far as to say this book is a work of art in its own right and must be added to your reading list.

Fiona has another new novel due out in May, The Beekeeper’s Promise, and I can’t wait!

Sea of Memories is available in ebook and paperback versions and links to Amazon can be found below. You might also like to read my reviews of Fiona’s previous novels (see below) and my France et Moi interview with her, here. You can also follow her at her websiteFacebook and Twitter.

French Village Diaries book review Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy St Martin Ile de Ré
St Martin, Ile de Ré copyright Fiona Valpy

I’m delighted that Fiona will be joining me here on Sunday, when she is going to take us on a day trip to Saint Martin on the Ile de Ré as part of my new #LazySundayinFrance feature.