When Clare Ross’ father dies, she finds herself in the home of family friends, hoping in vain that the artist mother who abandoned her so many years ago will come back to find her. But Clare’s mother never reappears, and Clare is left to fend for herself as an artist and an individual until she meets the son of her hosts, Luc Crépet. The two embark on a childish summer romance in the French countryside. Luc encourages Clare’s sketching, and Clare inspires Luc with her independence and bravery. Clare is eventually reclaimed by her grandfather and follows him abroad to study dialects. She and Luc write letters, most of which never reach one another. Luc enters the army when World War I breaks out and he finds himself in the very fields in which he and Clare spent so much time together. Separated by space and experiences, the two never forget one another. That is until Clare finds herself working in a studio that creates masks for disfigured soldiers, and a certain boy from the past, now scarred and damaged, reappears.
Bittersweet, this is the quintessential first love story – the first love you never forget. This story felt uneven at times, but the love story between the main characters is just as riveting as the romance between the two leads in Ms. Brockmole’s earlier work, “Letters from Skye”. Filled with historical details including the carvings soldiers left in caves during the war, the masks created for mutilated soldiers after the war, and with a characteristic artistic flair, this is a story that will transport you to the French countryside, many years ago.
Ms. Brockmole’s debut novel, “Letters from Skye”, is reviewed here.
Amazon link is here.