Storyline #1: Eve fell madly in love with Dom from the moment they first met in the streets of Paris. Not long after a whirlwind romance, Eve moves to Dom’s hameau (hamlet) in a countryside village in Provance. Constantly haunted by images and thoughts of Dom’s former wife, Rachel, Eve is determined to figure out the mystery of the hamlet, and the mystery of why Dom angrily refuses to discuss his former relationship with Rachel.
Storyline #2: Benedicte grew up in the lush landscape of Provance’s Les Genreviers, and tells her life story. She has a terribly psychotic brother, and a blind sister who went to become one of the world’s most famous perfumers, creating Lavande De Nuit (Lavender of the Night).
Lawrenson is gifted with her ability to create a descriptive atmosphere, enticing nearly all the senses of the reader. I often was lost in her descriptions of the sights and smells that Eve and Benedicte experienced during their time in the little village. Unfortunately, that is where my fondness for this book ends.
The storyline was at times convoluted with chapters abruptly alternating narration with no warning. It was very confusing, wondering who was talking about what, until I started to get more familiar with the characters. There was no change in personality or voice between Benedicte and Eve, so I couldn’t use their narrative voices to decipher the difference. The book is not spooky at all. I found it more irksome in how forced the spooky elements are presented. The characters, except for Dom, are not very interesting. Eve is obsessed with Rachel in the same way the nameless narrator was obsessed with Rebecca in Du Maurier’s masterpiece.
Despite a bumpy start, the book got really interesting about 150 pages into the book and I was able to navigate the chapters with ease, learning more about the characters and making guesses as to how the two seemingly random plots tie into each other. Although I’m not thoroughly impressed by this book, my interest into just what Dom is all about was enough to keep me reading to the end.
Of the two stories, I found Benedicte’s to be much more interesting and I would love to read a book of this genre entirely focused on her story. I think there was so much to her character, life and the people in her life that added a lot to this novel and could be expanded into a full novel of its own right.Find this book at your local library Book 36 of 2011