Stories set in two time frames dealing with the same families are always good for me. Set in Provence during the time of the Nazi as well as much later the story outlines the lives of several people from the time they were youngsters as well as their parents and then goes on to the later scenario and how lives have changed/been unchanged.
In the vineyards and farms where the story is set, life is governed by what is seasonally done for generations. Also livelihoods have been passed from father to son. A variation in this set in stone lifestyle is not looked at well by either neighbours or the community at large. The return of a daughter after a broken marriage to a Scottish man is looked at askance, especially as her sibling feels that he may get deprived of his inheritance. A young Arab woman hoping for a life of freedom realises that she has escaped one constrictive life for another where everyone looks at her with suspicion and life is still governed by what her husband decides. A young man has an affair with the mother of another young man in the village, but the affair only comes back to bite him decades later and leads to his divorce and isolation.
Interspersed with the complicated lives of the people of the midi, is also the descriptiveness of this bleak, but beautiful countryside. The people seem at times harsh molded by the landscape they inhabit and this must influence the way they think and behave, but the story is compelling reading.
Strong characterization was another hallmark of this story which made for an interesting read.
Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Simon & Schuster.