Author: Deborah Lawrenson
Published: August 9, 2011
Hardcover: 400 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): Meeting Dom was the most incredible thing that had ever happened to me. When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom in Switzerland, their whirlwind relationship leads them to Les GenÉvriers, an abandoned house set among the fragrant lavender fields of the South of France. Each enchanting day delivers happy discoveries: hidden chambers, secret vaults, a beautiful wrought-iron lantern. Deeply in love and surrounded by music, books, and the heady summer scents of the French countryside, Eve has never felt more alive.
But with autumn’s arrival the days begin to cool, and so, too, does Dom. Though Eve knows he bears the emotional scars of a failed marriage—one he refuses to talk about—his silence arouses suspicion and uncertainty. The more reticent Dom is to explain, the more Eve becomes obsessed with finding answers—and with unraveling the mystery of his absent, beautiful ex-wife, Rachel.
Like its owner, Les Genevriers is also changing. Bright, warm rooms have turned cold and uninviting; shadows now fall unexpectedly; and Eve senses a presence moving through the garden. Is it a ghost from the past or a manifestation of her current troubles with Dom? Can she trust Dom, or could her life be in danger?
Eve does not know that Les Genevriers has been haunted before. Benedicte Lincel, the house’s former owner, thrived as a young girl within the rich elements of the landscape: the violets hidden in the woodland, the warm wind through the almond trees. She knew the bitter taste of heartbreak and tragedy—long-buried family secrets and evil deeds that, once unearthed, will hold shocking and unexpected consequences for Eve.
The writing is phenomenal and is so lush that I found myself wanting to pack my bags to go and visit this estate for myself. Lawrenson shows her mastery of words in this novel, with beautiful descriptions of the landscape, Eve's feelings and emotions, the actions that are occuring around her. There is very little dialogue in this novel, with the characters' perceptions moving the story along. The novel is told by two characters: Eve, in the present, who just bought this estate with her boyfriend, and Benedicte narrating how the estate came to fall into the state that it is currently in and who is haunting it. I felt like the characters were a bit stagnant and there wasn't much growth. They were all very much one dimensional. I wish that there had been a little more put into the characters.
While not my favorite book, this was a great autumn read. I loved reading the beautiful descriptions while sipping on a pumpkin spice latte and seeing the leaves blowing about. It helped to get me in the autum spirit and had me looking forward to Halloween.