I had read Joanne Harris's Chocolat ages ago and I can remember there too she brings to life the ins and outs of village life in all its rustic glory. Here too Harris is rather ambitious where she transports us to the 1600s a time of turmoil, superstition (unbelievable naivety which is painfully true) and intrigue.
I like history, I love historical fiction but at the beginning of this book I thought this was not for me. Just 50 pages in you get enthralled by the book and the machinations of Le Merle (Guy) our main protagonist and his muse as it were Juliette. Set in a convent (I have a weakness for convents!!!) a convent which for me was completely different to the convents of my imagination. Piety, ethics and morals are some of the things which are quietly ignored till the arrival of the new abbess an unbelievably 12 year old girl Isabelle who brings with her strict ideas of how a convent should be run along with her private confessor who is evil and who wants to manipulate not just the abbess but the entire convent of 65 nuns to his own will and convenience.
The whole story revolves around Juliette and Guy with each person taking up one sector of the book at a time so that you realize very early on that it is a game between two very strong characters. Juliette unusual for her time governed by feelings of maternal protection, and a love/hate relationship for Guy and he on the other hand selfish to the very last the only important person in his life - himself.
The story telling is ambitious in this one and there is a dark twist almost gothic in this book. It appealed to me very much and I should look for the other Harris books! Just 384 pages and again in a font which was easy to read. A book which I obtained from the Carnegie library and one which I posted as part of my Mailbox.