Thursday 26 September 2019

The Guardian of Lies - Kate Furnivall

1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances.

Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father's farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive. 

But everything changes when André is injured - a direct result of Eloise's actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.

Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?

What did I think?

I discovered Kate Furnivall through TBC on Facebook so joining that group is the best thing I ever did as I absolutely adore her books.  As a keen reader of historical fiction, I know how difficult it can be to bring an era to life but Kate Furnivall does this impeccably.  What an amazing talent to be able to transport the reader to miscellaneous locations and time periods; whether it's early 20th Century Egypt in Shadows on the Nile, war torn Italy in The Liberation or post-war France in The Guardian of Lies I feel as if I'm travelling the world through Kate Furnivall's wonderful books.

In The Guardian of Lies we launch straight into the action with Eloïse acting as a getaway driver for her brother André.  With a car chase that would rival James Bond, I had my heart in my mouth and was left breathless as the action unfolds.  The pacing doesn't give up there, even when Eloïse and André return to their father's farm in Arles; in fact it felt more dangerous in the idyllic countryside of The Camargue with civil unrest over an American airbase being built on their farmland.  With such a great opportunity to spy on the American airforce, Eloïse can't tell which side her family, friends and neighbours are on.  The question on my lips throughout the whole book was: who can she trust?

Oh my word, this is another outstanding novel by Kate Furnivall.  I almost managed to read it in one sitting, if only I didn't have to eat and sleep!  I really couldn't put it down and it's unusual for this to happen to me when reading historical fiction as sometimes it's quite fact-heavy and dry so I need to take regular breaks.  Kate Furnivall's writing is so multi-faceted that it awakens the senses as you see, hear and smell every sight, sound and action along with the characters.

I was a little concerned that the story might be confusing, as is often the case with Russian espionage, but I needn't have worried as the story is easy to follow and we aren't overrun with characters.  This proves yet again that Kate Furnivall is an exceptional storyteller.  I think of Kate Furnivall is a literary knitter; she spins such a good yarn.

The Guardian of Lies is an exceptional novel by one of the finest historical fiction authors I've ever come across; so grab your passport and pick up a copy to be transported to post-war France from the comfort of your armchair.  A highly recommended read and one I shall definitely be recommending for a long time to come.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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