“There were seconds, when I woke, when the world felt unshrouded. Then memory returned.”
When Jessica regains consciousness in a French hospital on the day after the Paris attacks, all she can think of is fleeing the site of the horror she survived. But Patrick, the steadfast friend who hasn’t left her side, urges her to reconsider her decision. Worn down by his insistence, she reluctantly agrees to follow through with the trip they’d planned before the tragedy.
“The pages found you,” Patrick whispered.
“Now you need to figure out what they’re trying to say.”
During a stop at a country flea market, Jessica finds a faded document concealed in an antique. As new friends help her to translate the archaic French, they uncover the story of Adeline Baillard, a young woman who lived centuries before—her faith condemned, her life endangered, her community decimated by the Huguenot persecution.
“I write for our descendants, for those who will not understand the cost of our survival.”
Determined to learn the Baillard family’s fate, Jessica retraces their flight from France to England, spurred on by a need she doesn’t understand.
Could this stranger who lived three hundred years before hold the key to Jessica’s survival?
This is the second book I have read from Michele Phoenix and I was blown away by both of them! I love books that are realistic and true-to-life. Phoenix does not hold back from realistic happenings in her books and is not afraid to have really terrible things happen to her characters. I find it refreshing because real-life can be terrible and it is a little frustrating to read books that are always predictable and happy.
In this story, Phoenix deals with current issues and intertwines events from the past. One of the reasons why historical fiction is my favorite genre to read is because I find that I learn a little bit about the past while reading the novel. Although this is not historical fiction, Phoenix gives us snapshots into the past. Furthermore, the Huguenot persecutions are something that I was not that familiar with, so I found this novel especially interesting.
There were a couple of twists and turns in this book that will hold the interest of all readers, especially in light of the relevance and current events. However, what I found most interesting was the connection between the persecution of the past and the current climate.
The saddest thing about this book was the fact that while I vaguely remembered the attacks on Paris, I had already forgotten many of the details of the attack on the Bataclan. Phoenix’s novel keeps the memory of the attack and the innocent victims alive in readers, even those that were not directly affected by the attacks.
If you want to read a book that is inspiring and painful and disturbing and wonderful, this is the book for you. It is well-written and painfully beautiful.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.