Sunday, 10 April 2011

We All Ran into the Sunlight ~ Natalie Young

Recently I was asked by Clemmie from Short Books if I would take part in their Book Club and I was happy to agree.

The first book was We All Ran into the Sunlight, a debut novel from Natalie Young.  The book is beautifully presented with a glossy cover in an antique style and although I did struggle with the initial chapters, I soon found myself entranced by the story.  I'd certainly recommend this story.  My thoughts are below.

This is a beautifully presented book, the cover is antique in style, representing the story inside.

A story of love and family breakdowns that centres on a Chateau in a small town in the French Cevanne region, this is told in three time-scales.

Opening with the prologue in 1985 and celebrating the 60th birthday of Lucie Borja with a party in the grounds of the Chateau.  What starts out as a joyous family occasion ends with a tragedy that deeply affects future generations of the family.

The story moves on 20 years to find English couple Kate and Stephen who have taken a sabbatical from their busy city lives to spend time with each other in the rural French countryside.  Stephen is bored and Kate becomes obsessed with the crumbling remains of the Chateau and the story that she knows must be behind it’s locked gates.

And then, to 1946 and newly-wed Lucie and Arnaud arrive at the Chateau to start married life.  Lucie is a Paris girl and finds it difficult to make friends with the women in the small town, she welcomes an Algerian couple into her home, and finds her first real friend in Fatima.  

I must admit that I found Kate and Stephen’ s part of the story quite difficult at times and  still wonder quite why it was such a large part of the story.  However, I was entranced by the 1940s Lucie, the story of her unhappiness and what would be classed as depression nowadays.  Her reaction to people and her behaviours and actions that had massive consequences for future generations of the family and for the townspeople.

This is a strange story, but a compelling and intriguing one.  The characters of small town France are captured beautifully, the scenery and the weather captured in great detail.

I enjoyed this novel very much and think that Natalie Young is an author to watch closely.

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