They had me right up until the last few chapters. In the beginning, you fall in love with the characters. Grand pere is the loving grandfather, protecting his granddaughter. Adrienne is the main character (the granddaughter), a four year old when we meet her. Her mother is young and beautiful, and not too interested in being a mother, but don’t worry – Adrienne has a nanny named Lucie who cares about her more than her real mother. And then there’s the nearly comically evil aunt Marie. The author did a great job making the characters feel realistic. You knew who the good guys were, and who you weren’t supposed to like.
Grand pere and Adrienne live an idyllic life in the French countryside, although Adrienne has some kind of clairvoyance. Her grandfather tries to protect her, because it’s the 1800’s, and people who can see the future – and more importantly see other’s secrets – are scary. Lucie writes down all of Adrienne’s visions in her journal. We see the little girl grow up, and her Grand pere eventually get sick and die. There are more sisters and brothers, and eventually a love interest.
Things go a little off the rails when evil aunt Marie decides to take Adrienne back to America to live with her and her son Julien. He turns out to be a pedophile priest, and Marie erases Adrienne’s identity (by writing a letter to Adrienne’s family that she died at sea) and makes her a servant. Oh, and they live in Miramont Castle. More bad things happen (her cousin rapes her, she gets pregnant, people in the village want to lynch Julien…), and just when you think Adrienne is going to save herself, because the author has spent the whole book talking about Adrienne, and making us root for her, she kills herself. NOBODY gets their comeuppance, and Adrienne haunts the castle.
I’d have to say that I recommend the first 2/3 of this book. There are beautiful descriptions of the countryside, and Adrienne’s visions are cool. There’s just no satisfying climax. I hate it when the bad guys win, and they have little repercussions.
The “true story” part of this book is that there was a priest living in Miramont Castle, he left under mysterious circumstances, and the castle is believed to be haunted. The rest (good and bad) is entirely made up. I didn’t read this book because I knew it was based on a true story (or whatever), but they probably could’ve just left that part out.
I’m just glad this was a free Kindle ebook.