Kirsty Manning states,” It has long been my quest in Historical Fiction to draw attention to forgotten pockets of history.” something she has done an extraordinarily fine way. Her book “The Jade Lilly,” dealt with Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during World War 2.
The following book, “The Lost Jewels,” deals with a little-known discovery of a hoard of magnificent jewels found in a basement in Cheapside, England. Her latest book The French Gift deals with women in the French Resistance, during the invasion of Germany. Agnes Humbert was such a woman and the author has based this story on her exploits.
The French Gift is a captivating novel set during the Second World War and in modern times. Kirsty moves easily through the time frames with her characters. The War heroine, Josephine, returned home after the war, developing a loving relationship with her nephew, his wife Evie and their son Hugo.
Evie runs a shop in Paris as a preserver of Botanical Manuscripts. When Josephine dies the family is approached by a museum to display her memoirs as a memorial to all the Resistance Fighters.
While in prison, and later in the rayon factory, Josephine befriends a French maid, Margot, who has been accused of murder. The injustice done to this young girl appals Josephine who desperately wants to clear Margot’s name.
We have the two stories running parallel, yet cleverly entwined. With her careful research and eye for detail, Kirsty Manning has written a shocking account of the brutality metered out to these women, and the quest for Evie to find the truth to clear Margot’s name. Alongside the accurate retelling of war times, we have a murder mystery which is brilliant in its complexity.
I can’t wait to see what “Pocket of history,” Kirsty Manning will reveal next.
|Allen & Unwin
|Allen & Unwin