Sunday, 8 November 2015

Shadows of Yesterday

Shadows of Yesterday is a powerful novel by Ann Wardlaw.

It tells the dramatic story of Marc Chevaud.

Marc was captured and subject to dreadful torture by the Nazis during the Second World War.

After the war he found himself in Britain and he created a highly successful business in the country that he now called home.

But did he really, truly call Britain his home? For he still yearned for the ageless beauty of his native Provence.

Suddenly he knew that he would have to return to France to go back to what had been his ancestral home, redolent with memories of what the chateau and vineyards had been like before Germany had decided to eat its neighbours and itself in a bout of mindless destruction.

He leaves the day-to-day running of his business to his brother Leo and he makes the decision to return to Provence.

Of course, Marc realises that when he returns to his ancestral home that things will not be the same, but nothing could have prepared him for the dreadful state of decay of the family chateau and the ruinous condition of the lands surrounding it and of the vineyards. Partly caused by its occupation by unsympathetic enemy forces during the war years.

He is saddened by what he finds but, perhaps as impulsively as his decision to return there, he decides that he will restore both the chateau and the vineyards to their former, pre-war glories.

Yet Marc cannot fathom out the hostility of the local people to his return and for his plans for his family estates. What do they know that he doesn't?

However, he begins to discover dark secrets from the past that he would find to be beyond what he could ever have imagined possible.

What will this mean for Marc and his family? Dare he dig deeper? And if he does, what else will he uncover?

Set in the 1960s and with flashbacks to the war years, this novel readily evokes the reality of life in post-occupation rural France.

Ann Wardlaw relates a tale of complex but utterly believable personal histories with many twists and turns that help to bring this story to life.

It is published by The Book Guild and costs a very reasonable £9.99. It is available via the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which is to the right hand side of this site.

It will make an excellent Christmas present.

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