Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in the capital, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime of 18th century Paris.
Imprisoned in France’s most pitiless madhouse – La Salpêtrière asylum – Victoire becomes desperate and helpless, until she meets fellow prisoner Jeanne de Valois, infamous conwoman of the diamond necklace affair. With the help of the ruthless and charismatic countess who helped hasten Queen Marie Antoinette to the guillotine, Victoire carves out a new life for herself.
Enmeshed in the fever of pre-revolutionary Paris, Victoire must find the strength to join the revolutionary force storming the Bastille. Is she brave enough to help overthrow the diabolical aristocracy?
As Spirit of Lost Angels traces Victoire’s journey, it follows too, the journey of an angel talisman through generations of the Charpentier family. Victoire lives in the hope her angel pendant will one day renew the link with a special person in her life.
Amidst the tumult of the French revolution drama, the women of Spirit of Lost Angels face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.
This book has an interesting plot and contains plenty of historical detail. It seems as if no stone was left unturned when it came to research and this has given the novel a real depth in the setting. There are even some real historical characters to give the story a further sense of place. This novel really demonstrates the plight of the lower classes in France during the revolution against the nobles who quite literally got away with murder (and plenty of other crimes as well).
Liza Perrat has an amazing writing style, and fills her prose with fantastic description. It’s the kind of writing that puts the reader right at the heart of the scene. I could imagine being in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne, in the shadow of the mountains; I could see the squalor of the asylum, and practically smell the streets of Paris!
Many tragic events occur as the book progresses, but the novel never becomes depressing. There’s almost always a glimmer of hope that things will improve — and if not by good fortune, then by the main character Victoire’s own doing. I found the story a tiny bit slow in the middle, when I couldn’t really see where the plot was going to go next, but the author’s wonderful writing style kept me reading.
There are many great characters in this book, and I especially loved Victoire’s resilience. She is a strong character, having had to reinvent herself and live in fear of the past on more than one occasion. She is constantly determined to better herself, and is mostly unafraid of the consequences of her actions.
I would certainly recommend this book, and I think that even people who don’t usually read historical fiction would enjoy it.
(Free review copy received.)