Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix

When Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye, France, to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle, he unearths a dark World War II history few in the village remember. The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and bizarre acts of vandalism.

Marshall Becker drowns his problems and alcohol and is always irate and angry.  When the opportunity comes up to help renovate a castle in France, his friend implores him to take it.  He can take is anger out on that and maybe it will help motivate him to begin living again.

When he gets there though, strange things begin to happen.  The nanny, Jade, befriends Becker and the two start a precarious relationship, but alongside the present storyline, is the past from fifty years ago.  The manor house used to be where they gave birth to babies for the Reich.  The time period is richly detailed, but the connection between the two times isn't introduced until much later in the book.  Neither is Becker's past, the reason why he is like he is.  At that point though, I didn't like him at all and even with his past introduced, I couldn't go back and like him even an inch.  Too little, too late.  

While the book had an interesting premise and the writing was spot on, there was something missing for me.  I wanted more of the past and less of the present day shadows.  I wanted to find a connection with the characters, and that was lacking for me.  If you like history, romance and mystery, you may enjoy Tangled Ashes - for me it was just so-so.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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