Born into a life of poverty and despair, Victoire Charpentier’s early life was fraught with tragedy and social degradation. When both her parents fall victim to hopelessness and ignorant superstition she has no choice but to make her own way in the world. Leaving behind the traumatic memories of her small village of Lucie-sur-Vionne, and comforted by her mother’s bone angel talisman, Victoire makes her way to Paris, and to a new beginning as a domestic servant. Here she is introduced to the debauched and selfish world of the pre-revolutionary French aristocrat.
Eighteenth century France is brought vividly to life in this dramatic recreation of Paris in the lead up to the storming of the Bastille. The writing is superb, the sights, sounds and smells of a city in turmoil is brought vividly to life, and the descriptive passages are so colourfully described, you almost feel like you have to dodge the carriages, and step away from the excrement laden streets.
Liza Perrat has an undoubted skill with words, the story grips your imagination from the very start of the novel, and the momentum doesn’t stop until Victoire’s story is completed. The meticulousness of the research and the vivid recreation of the historical period make this a fascinating book for those book groups who enjoy well written and decisive historical novel.