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The House at Zaronza (Tales of Corsica) Paperback – April 7, 2018
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About the Author
Vanessa Couchman has lived in southern France since 1997 and is a historical novelist, short story author and freelance writer. She specialises in writing about France and Corsica. Her short stories have been published in numerous anthologies and have won or been placed in a number of competitions. Her first historical novel, The House at Zaronza, set on Corsica, was published in 2014 and reissued in 2018. Her second novel, The Corsican Widow, will be published in May 2018. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society.
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What I hadn't realised about the author was the pace at which she would make this reader turn the pages. Much of the areas the character passes through from adolescent to adult to wartime nurse in a foreign land were new to me, but I was readily able to venture forth. That's some talent as after a few days I had read the whole book. (It would have been less but I kept being interrupted by a thing called work. Kuh.)
I now see that there's a strong possibility of a sequel. This, I will be looking forward to.
Other reviewers have synopsized the plot, so I will not.
The writing style is easy to read, captivating and descriptive. I enjoy my history the lazy person's way -- wrapped in a good story! And, The House at Zaronza certainly fit that bill.
Great descriptions of Corsica, interesting details of the Great War, the nursing and the effect on the Corsican (and French) rural villages -- the dead and maimed men, the changed role of women, the villages destroyed by the loss of population.
I am looking forward to the Vanessa Couchman's next book...continuing the story, I hope! In the mean time, Vanessa writes a wonderful blog about her area of France, not to be missed!
The book takes an unflinching look at what it meant to be female at that time and place, with a realistic first-person narrative. The fictional author voice’s credibility stems partly from changing over the course of the novel, from naïve young woman to WW1 nurse and beyond – this with the added complexity of the narrative being written as a retrospective memoir. The portions on nursing on the Front are for me the most gripping. They fit in with the ruggedly un-melodramatic stoicism of the main character to pack a force of narrative that leaves one quite stunned.
Would recommend without reservation.
Most recent customer reviews
"Vanessa Couchman has a huge potential talent, and will be an author to watch"
Helen Hollick...Read more