|A Letter from Paris by Louisa Deasey|
My review today is for A Letter from Paris, a family memoir by Louisa Deasey, daughter of Australian writer Denison Deasey.
Those of you who are regular readers will know that I love memoirs and I have to start this review by saying this is the most moving and beautifully written memoir I have read in a long while.
Louisa Deasey grew up with the cloud of shame about her father Denison, who died when she was only six, hanging over her. She soon learned not to ask about her dad when she was growing up, as she was made to feel guilty if she did. All she really knew about him she learned from reading his obituaries, which sadly gave her no sense of pride for a man who led a rather remarkable life. This all changed when she received a mysterious message from Paris; the granddaughter of an old flame of Denison’s contacts Louisa in the days following her grandmother’s death. This proves to be the catalyst Louisa needs to discover for herself the life her father led before he returned to Australia and settled down with his family.
I have to admit that I had never heard of Denison Deasey before reading this book, but I soon became as enthralled by Louisa’s journey to discover the truth about his life as she was. Denison lived in another era; experiencing life in the post war years in Europe, where he contrasts his experiences in London, Paris and the south of France through his diary entries and constantly compares Europe, where he feels at home to an Australia he feels lacks creativity. I learned a lot, both culturally and historically.
Alongside her amazing journey, this book contains many remarkable people, who although not technically related, become real family to Louisa as they help her find her way from the cold and cheerless library archives in Australia, to jet-lagged rendezvous in London, to reconnecting with her godmother in Paris and finally, coming ‘home’ to a villa on the French coast. I devoured the pages, feeling I was there with her, experiencing every step.
This is an emotional read; many would have given up when discoveries became difficult or leads became dead ends. Louisa finds the strength to keep going, learning that sometimes it’s the chance encounters with strangers who give us the most support and help us on our way.
A Letter from Paris is out now in ebook and paperback format and is a must read for memoir lovers. Links to Amazon can be found below.
If you too love memoirs, come and join us over at We Love Memoirs, a fun and friendly Facebook group who I can’t wait to share this gem of a memoir with.