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Daughter of Catalonia

Cover of Daughter of CataloniaRead An Extract of Daughter of Catalonia

Author: Jane MacKenzie

Genre: Women's Reads
Format: E-book
ISBN: 9780749015732
Rights: UK & Comm
Pub. Date: 24th April 2014

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Synopsis of book»

'The war was a complicated time, Mademoiselle. Not everything is easy to discover.’

In war-torn France, charismatic Spaniard Luis elopes with high-born Elise from Paris and takes her to live in a small village in Catalonia. Little do they know that war will rip them apart, sending Elise into unhappy exile in England, and Luis to his death in the Resistance.

Many years later their daughter Madeleine returns to France to seek out her roots and the truth of her parents’ story. But her arrival in the Catalan village of her childhood unleashes more than she had bargained for, as Madeleine confronts the secrets of war and learns the shocking truth behind her father’s death. And as her own love story begins, she must come to terms with her past, and learn to forgive and to believe in the legacy of love her parents left behind.

What Critics Have Said»

'Compelling and meticulously researched. An evocative multi-layered story'Random Things Through My Letterbox

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This debut novel from Jane MacKenzie superbly conjures up the beautiful scenery of this corner of France, a place she has called home for the last seven years, and is a riveting holiday read.Living France

'You can almost feel the warmth of the Languedoc sunshine'French Property News

'Beautifully evoking the sights and sounds of the countryside it vividly celebrates, Jane MacKenzie’s debut novel is a gripping story of family, secrets and the healing power of love.'The Good Book Guide

'Debut novelist Jane MacKenzie adds plenty of local colour to a story that combines the devastating effects of war with decades-old secrets and one woman's quest for the truth.'France Magazine

'Mackenzie evocatively captures the beauty of the Banyuls region of France and how its mix of French and Catalan culture forms something unique ... Her prose is polished and characterisations well-rounded. This is a novel of quiet intensity and deep emotion.'The Daily Mail

'I was really impressed with this story. Madeleine's dreary life in the 1950s with strict grandparents is beautifully portrayed and very effectively contrasted with the vividness of life in a Mediterranean village. The plot is engrossing - secrets from the war are uncovered, stories of betrayal and love come to light. A very satisfying story in many ways - characters you believe in and care about, wonderful descriptions of French Catalonia and a strong plot. It is hard to belive it is a first novel as the writing is so good. Highly recommended'Newbooks Magazine

'This is the perfect holiday read - another example of the appeal of the 1950s and also of the type of story that crosses from one era to another. Madeleine is a heart-warming, interesting character - you'll really warm to her and want to know how she gets on with her quest to discover the truth about the death of her father. Absolutely riveting, I truly wanted to get to the end of this one!'Booksmonthly

'This traditional novel is lifted from the mundane by the author’s diligent research into Vichy France and knowledge of Catalonia.'Katherine Wallace, The Penzance Bookshop

'I loved Daughter of Catalonia - a beautifully told tale of love, war, secrets, families and village life - stirring stuff! It took me back to the unspolit 'other' South of France. Jane MacKenzie has captured French Catalonia perfectly - I can visualise the villagers dancing the magnificent Sardane! Superb!'Emma Mileham, bookseller

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What You Say»                                                             Add your review »

Opening in November 1942 as Madeleine and her family make their way across the mountains, escaping from Nazi occupied France. Madeleine, her brother Robert and their Mother Elise intend to return to Elise's English home whilst their father Luis will stay in Catalonia, fighting the cause for freedom.
The story moves forward twenty years. Elise is dying, having never recovered from the death of her beloved Luis - the man she eloped with, the father of her children, the husband she never saw again after leaving him on that mountain pass in 1942. After Elise's death, Madeleine is determined that she will escape from the stifling life she leads in her Grandparents house. Her aloof Grandmother and her cold Grandfather were bitterly disappointed by their daughter's choice of husband, and both Madeleine and Robert have suffered ever since.
Almost on a whim, Madeleine travels to France, to Catalonia, to the village of her early childhood. She is determined to find out more about her Father. How did he die? Why did her Mother never speak about him?
In France Madeleine discovers much more than she bargained for, uncovering secrets and lies that are both shocking and life-changing, but also discovering a love that could heal the pain that she inherited from her mother.
Daughter of Catalonia transports the reader to the small close-knit communities in the Catalan region of France, communities who are still scarred by the events of the War. Communities that hold their secrets close, but have long memories.
Jane MacKenzie is a skilled author who magically brings the region to life. There are some novels that make the reader want to visit the setting immediately, and this one of them. The small towns and villages, the searing heat, the dusty shop fronts, the winding streets. The village squares with their cafes and shops, populated by characters who are lifelike, colourful and so well created. The author has captured the feeling of a small community devastated by the events of the war, split by the actions of some, and connected by the loyalty of others.
The plot moves quickly and Madeleine is an interesting and complex character. Sometimes childlike and innocent, but also world-weary and downtrodden, she is complemented by the cast of French characters, each of whom have a large voice and presence in the story.
The small French town setting and the wholesome and incredibly realistic characters that live there make this novel special. The story is compelling and meticulously researched. An evocative multi-layered story, I enjoyed it very much.Anne Cater

Other Books by this author                                  See full list »

  • Autumn in Catalonia
  • Tapestry of War

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