The first new novel in four years from the beloved superstar author of Sarah’s Key, a heartbreaking and uplifting story of family secrets and devastating disaster, set against a Paris backdrop, fraught with revelations, and resolutions.
“An absorbing tale of family secrets from the author of Sarah’s Key.” – People magazine
“Hypnotic, passionate, ominous and tender—unforgettable.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Those Who Save Us
Linden Malegarde has come home to Paris from the United States. It has been years since the whole family was all together. Now the Malegarde family is gathering for Paul, Linden’s father’s 70th birthday.
Each member of the Malegarde family is on edge, holding their breath, afraid one wrong move will shatter their delicate harmony. Paul, the quiet patriarch, an internationally-renowned arborist obsessed with his trees and little else, has always had an uneasy relationship with his son. Lauren, his American wife, is determined that the weekend celebration will be a success. Tilia, Linden’s blunt older sister, projects an air of false fulfillment. And Linden himself, the youngest, uncomfortable in his own skin, never quite at home no matter where he lives—an American in France and a Frenchman in the U.S.—still fears that, despite his hard-won success as a celebrated photographer, he will always be a disappointment to his parents.
Their hidden fears and secrets slowly unravel as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster, and the Seine bursts its banks and floods the city. All members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances. In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, de Rosnay demonstrates all of her writer’s skills both as an incredible storyteller but also as a soul seeker.
This was such a gripping read. The pace is quite slow, so slow that the whole story is pretty much a few days long, but I found it oddly compelling. A family gathers in Paris for a celebration as the Seine is threatening to burst its banks. The father of the family suffers a stroke and the mother is felled by the flu. The son and daughter try to pull everything together – but each family member has secrets from the others, secrets that are at the very deepest parts of their souls and their identities. These secrets are all revealed over time – mostly through flashback – and they are both incredible and some are horrible.
It makes you wonder: what makes us human? What shapes us for whom we become? What does it mean to be a family?
A great book club read! I love a book that includes redemption and acceptance.
Thank you so much for my review e-copy via Net Galley!