AUTHOR: ROSE TREMAIN
This is the story of a house, Mass Lunel in the Cevennes in France and of those who live there and those who would like to live there.
It is the story of family relationships and the influences they have on our lives as well as the story of the things we are willing to do for those and what we love, the things we wish for those we hate and about people basically being self-obsessed.
The story starts with a young girl walking away from her school trip picnic, seeing something and screaming. We are then taken back to the events leading up to whatever it was that made her scream.
Anthony Verey is a London antiques dealer who is starting to see his life and his future as hopeless. In an attempt to resurrect his life he decides to travel to France to stay with his sister, V who is delighted to have him. Less happy is V's lover, Kitty, who can't stand Anthony and fears losing V now that it's no longer just the two of them.
In France Anthony falls in love with Mass Lunel, and decides he wants to buy the house.
Mass Lunel is owned by Aramon Lunel a troubled man, who has a very uneasy relationship with his sister Audrun who lives in a small bungalow next to the Mass. While Aramon is desperate to sell the house in exchange for the huge amount of money it would make him, Audrun is equally desperate to make sure it won't happen.
This set of circumstance leads to an eventual climax that will leave non of the players unaffected.
This was not an easy book to read, although it was very well written. All of the characters have huge issues with their pasts as well as their present, and non of them were easy to like or even likable at all. The story is very dark, and the fact that there doesn't seem to be any real justice at the end of the story also means that I felt very ambiguous towards the resolution of the story. Was it justice, although not the conventional sort, or was it just wrong. Several hours after reading the book, I still haven't worked that riddle out for myself. It would probably have been easier to come to a conclusion about that issue if I could have felt closer to the characters involved, but I couldn't.
All I know is that after this book, I'm going to need to read something a lot lighter to lift my mood again.