This was a beautifully told story. Taking us through the quiet, sedate, protected childhoods of Solange and Marie Chagall and their Papa in Marseille was idyllic. Papa was a sea farer away from home all the time and despite the lack of a mother, both girls were very ell brought up, well educated far beyond their times and had an understanding way beyond young women of their era.
Being of Jewish ancestry the girl's father knew hat troubles were coming. Persecution of Jews had started and he knew he had to protect his daughters at any cost. In the meantime WWI breaks out and Marie much to the dismay of family decides to volunteer as a nurse and with their support joins the nursing hospital attending to victims from the Battle of Verdun. Surviving the battle against all odds, Marie returns to a world changed. Marie herself has changed.. She seeks solitude, is depressed and when faced with the news that her father has decided to consolidate his assets and move to New York and that Solange has decided to go with him, Marie realises that she must decide on an independent future.
The Lavender House bequeathed by her mother proves a welcome solace though at the onset Marie feels that she has been abandoned by her family. Using the house as a base and a protection, the environs of the house and the opportunities it provides, proves a balm to Marie's spirit.
Beautifully written, sensitive to human emotion and feeling specially to the despair of Marie's spirit, I was very touched by this book. Descriptive of its surroundings it captures the essence of this part of France, evocatively.
The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Gemelli Press.