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  • Moving Dual-Timeline Historical Fiction

    “All That We Have Lost” is a moving historical fiction novel set in the Brittany region of France on two timelines – the past, in 1944 during German occupation, and the present, in 2019. The author uses this dual timeline plot device very effectively with her evocative depiction of a Nazi-occupied small town and what the villagers, particularly a young woman name Simone Varon, must do in order to survive the war. Almost equally compelling is the “present” story of Imogen Wren, a young widow who buys a dilapidated chateau in Brittany, in that same small town where Simone spent most of her life. At first it isn’t obvious how the two subplots will come together, but the story unfolds as Imogen starts renovating the chateau and getting to know Simone’s grandson, Laurent. Interspersed is Simone’s story, as she becomes connected to both the resistance and to a handsome German soldier who was stationed at the chateau. Simone and Imogen are both well-drawn strong female characters who the reader will enjoy and root for. Both storylines feature light romance as a source of both heartbreak and hope in the women’s tragic lives. The way the storylines come together and past wrongs are righted is satisfying.

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  • Immersive, Gripping, Stellar Dual Timeline

    Set in occupied Brittany, France in both 2019 and 1944, this dual timeline book is gorgeously written and captured my heart and mind from the first page. Actually, from the lovely cover. This author is gifted at realistic storytelling, including gritty barbaric WWII details as well as incomprehensible strength and glimpses of beautiful hope. She is obviously a student of human nature and her characters are wonderfully introspective. I like to get into the minds of characters. Fortin also writes about her inspiration and research for this book in the acknowledgements. Imogen Wren's young husband has died of a heart attack, shattering her life and dreams. She and James had hoped to live in France one day. Four years later in 2019 she is still a young woman and decides to get her life back and bought a ruinous chateau in Brittany to restore. Chateaux are full of mystique and secrets and hers is no exception. There are fascinating links to WWII which unravel as the story goes on. As she explores and becomes a part of village life, Simone rebuilds, physically and mentally. In 1944 Germany occupies Brittany and most soldiers are cruel, doing their utmost to humiliate, terrify and bully Jews. Simone Varon is a flautist but her life is rife with horror on a daily basis. She lives with her sick brother and mother, barely surviving. She must endure extreme food rationing, propaganda and dire treatment as a Jew. However, in the midst of pure evil one German soldier shows acts of kindness to Simone and her family. His caring nature provides slivers of hope which are crucial in an otherwise bleak and despairing environment. Historical Fiction readers, please do read this tremendously fascinating and heartbreaking book. It will crush you then revive you. The timelines and stories of the main characters intertwine in a wondrous way, written seamlessly. The historical details made me feel as though I was privy to the characters' experiences. My sincere thank you to Aria & Aries and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this absolutely stunner of a book! I hope we will be blessed with many more books by this author.

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  • The French Chateau

    Exciting, Tragic, Heartbreaking, and Romantic are some words I would use to describe this book. Set in dual time periods the story transcend the ages. The first story is of Simone, a young girl that plays a flute, and a German officer named Max. Simone is forced to play her flute for the German's in a chateau that they have confiscated as their headquarters. It will take you deep into the German occupation, the resistance and how the people were treated by the German officer's. How the Romance between Simone and Max begins and how it ends. This takes place in a small French town in 1944 during the German occupation of France. The second story is of a young widow named Imogene and an architect named Laurent. , second story takes place in 2019. Imogene buys a chateau in a small town of France to get on with life after the death of her young husband. She meets Laurent there as he has agreed to help her restore the chateau. She soon learns that the town does not view Laurent and his family in a good light and it has to do with some dark secret from WWII and the German occupation and his grandmother. Imogene must learn the secret and why the town holds an ancient grudge against Laurent. She soon learns that a flute hidden somewhere in the chateau may hold the answers, but does she really want to know? How the characters and the chateau fit into both stories will become evident as you read the stories. The book is a tearjerker and tragic but also romantic and uplifting in spots. It is written beautifully with vivid descriptions of the chateau and the gardens and of the small French town both past and present. It holds a bit of history and a bit of the beauty of the French countryside. It was an interesting book to read and I would recommend it. Thanks to Suzanne Fortin, Aria and Aries publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy for my honest review.

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  • A dual timeline story, about war and loss.

    2019: Imogen Wren’s a young widow, her husband passed away four years ago, and she’s still working for the same company as a house designer. In her spare time she visits her mother-in-law Denise, her sister Meg and reads. Imogen’s still morning James, all she lost when he died and how long can she continue doing this for? James and Imogen had plans to move to France, she decides she needs a change of pace, she moves to France and buys an abandoned chateau in Brittany. Imogen discovers the locals don’t want to have anything to do with the chateau, none of the contractors she calls will even consider working for her and the chateau needs major structural repairs. During the Second World War, the chateau was taken over by the German’s, used as accommodation for officers and they think it's cursed. Like most towns in France, the Germans treated the residents terribly, punished anyone who was involved in the resistance and helped them. 1944: Simone Varon lives in the village of Tredion with her mother Marianne and her younger brother Pierre. Her mother runs a grocery shop, food is strictly rationed by the Germans and one officer in particular makes Simone feel very uncomfortable. Pierre’s a sickly child, he has asthma, his health is getting worse and medicine is in short supply. Not much gets past the Germans, they know Pierre’s very ill, they have medicine and can use this to force Simone do what they want. Simone plays the flute, a German officer demands she plays at the chateau, she tries to keep her distance from him and it gives her a chance to pass on information to the resistance. Not all Germans are the same, Simone meets Max Becker, he’s kind and Simone has to be very careful that no one in the village sees her talking to a German soldier and they hate people who collaborate with the Germans. Simone has no idea, the events she's caught up in during the war, will have devastating consequences, and the descendants of people living in the village will continue to carry a grudge against her family decades later. As Imogen restores the fire damaged chateau, she’s determined to uncover the truth of what happened in Tredion during the war, she has no idea a vital clue has been left behind in a section of the chateau, and it will prove that Simone Varon wasn’t a collaborator. All That We Have Lost is a brilliant dual timeline historical fiction story, the characters of Imogen and Simone are both strong and brave women and I admired their resilience and courage. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, it's well written, hard to put down and five stars from me. I highly recommend reading both All That We Have Lost and Suzanne Fortin's previous book The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger.

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  • Loved it

    This was another really good book told with dual timelines. Both stories past and present were equally interesting. I had a hard time putting this book down. I loved it! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

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