Vivienne Vermes’ debut novel is a gripping read which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. The book begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When it is discovered that she is of an ethnic group which was violently driven out of the regions many years before, old wounds are reopened as the villagers are reminded of their role in the bloodshed.
An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with the girl, and tension begin to rise within the community. The mysterious disappearance of a child causes this tension to mount into hysteria, driving the story to its chilling outcome.
This is a hauntingly beautiful and relevant book that I can’t believe is a debut novel!
The thing that most hit me about this book is the timelessness of it. There is no mention anywhere if the year it is set in, no famous person or event to anchor it in a set period of time. This story could have happened yesterday or 100 years ago as, unfortunately incidents of prejudice against foreigners or those not like the main group are still happening today.
The vivid descriptions and wonderful characters means that the reader is transported to Transylvania. I felt I was there amoung the villagers watching everything unfolding. As the story progressed and I grew to love the characters I felt very involved in their lives and wellbeing, shedding a tear as events unfolded.
This is definitely a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry as it’s a few days since I finished it and I’m still thinking about it. The message this book holds is a very important one that I feel everyone should read as the events in it are all too familiar. It would make a great book club book as there is lots to discuss.
This unbelievably is the author’s debut novel, though she is an established poet in her native France which shows through her poetic style of writing. I’d definitely be interested in reading more from this talented author.
Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book and for inviting me onto the blog tour. If you like vivid, emotional books that make you think then you’ll love this book!
About The Author:
Vivienne Vermes is a writer and actress who has previously published three collections of poetry, performed her work all over Europe and run creative writing workshops. She is the winner of Paragram Poetry Prize and Petite Prose Prize in 2016, and of the Mail on Sunday’s Best Opening to a Novel Competition, as well as Flash500’s prize for short fiction.