Spirit of the Lost Angels - Liza Perrat
Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots.
Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy?
Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of a bone angel talisman passed down through generations. The women of L’Auberge des Anges face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.
Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, this is a story of courage, hope and love.
*Received from the author in exchange for an honest review*
*Thank you, Liza Perrat*
I was a little reluctant to begin this book initially. With it residing within the genre of historical fiction, a genre I rarely read, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it all that much. As is obvious from my rating, it was an amazing book. Beautifully written, well researched, and filled to the brim with emotion, I couldn't get enough of this book. It would certainly have been devoured much quicker if it hadn't been deadline time at university!
Perrat explores rural France and Paris before, during and after the French Revolution, bringing out many issues that faced the poor and repressed classes during this period. It was so heart wrenching to read about the tragedies our protagonist, Victoire Charpentier faces throughout her life. A tale of love, passion, loss and war, I felt myself tearing up on many occasions just praying for good news/ a change in the structure of their every day lives. I hasten to add I am not a reader that cries easily. The last time I cried was during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It's insane to keep in mind that this is an author's debut novel. It's absolutely beautifully written and I cannot stop thinking about the book.
Our heroine, Victoire Charpentier is such a strong female figure. She keeps going despite everything that happens to her throughout her life. From poverty in her little village of Lucie-sur-Vionne, to her time in the asylum, to riots in Paris and back to where she started it all, in the little rural French village. We encounter characters that we love to love, and equally characters we absolutely love to hate. I'm finding this review so incredibly difficult to write without any spoilers because that is where all the emotion lies! I just, I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. It has overwhelmed me and I am so glad that I have read it.
Alongside exploring the life of Victoire, Perrat also explores issues of the Women's Rights Movement, with a few letters being exchanged between Victoire and Mary Wollstonecraft herself. As an MA student which specialises in Gender Studies, I was absolutely in my element watching how Perrat unfolds the issues raised on the treatment of women. No longer are they going to hide, allow themselves to be raped or murdered, to give up their bastard children. They are going to make a stand. This was such an empowering read and it made me so grateful to the women's movement and how far they have come - it makes me feel so incredibly lucky to have the way of life that I have now!
An eloquent and beautifully written historical novel, I highly recommend it to EVERYONE. Whether you're a lover of historical fiction or whether this is a new genre to you, please pick this book up. You will not regret it!