This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
After once having a home full of life, Ferdinand has been left in isolation. His wife has passed away and his children have moved on to have children of their own. The farmhouse he occupies seems far too large for just one man, but his solitude isn’t meant to last. Fate brings along a multitude of lost souls, one after the other, finding a place they belong. First comes Marceline, his equally isolated neighbour. After her house has been damaged in a storm, she needs a sanctuary for herself, her dog, battered cat and cheeky donkey. Then comes Guy, Ferdinand’s best friend and a recent widow. Guy is quickly followed by the elderly Lumiere sisters, who are facing being separated after 70 years together. Muriel, the young, broke nursing student is next, followed by Kim, an agricultural student. Together they make the farmhouse into a haven. All seems well but then, along comes Paulette.
Having noticed the novel is a translation and was originally written in French, I wondered whether there might be parts that were confusing, but the book has been carefully and tenderly translated providing as fluent a read as if it were originally written in English. The story is heart-warming from start to finish. Ferdinand is a beautifully honest man, who believes that he struggles with words, but actually talks openly about what he wants. His invitation to Marceline and her misunderstanding reminded me how rare kindness of that measure is now.
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The only flaw with this book for me would be regarding the structure. At times, the dialogue is correctly punctuated, making for smooth reading. Other times, there is no speech punctuation to separate what is said from the rest of the sentence. This may be a petty complaint coming from a grammar-obsessed English teacher but, as a reader, I found it stilted the flow. I had to read back and decipher whether the words were being said, reported as being said or just thought. Does this take away from the intertwined stories of human need and compassion? Not enough to stop me recommending it! The twist at the end alone makes it worth reading!
An unforgettable tale full of realistic, lovable characters.