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Hélène Grémillon's debut, The Confidant, is a mystery full of passion and heartbreak underscored by the fearful uncertainty of life in Nazi-occupied France.
1975: Camille receives a flood of condolence letters following her mother's death in Paris. Among them is a handwritten story with no salutation. At first, Camille believes she has received it by mistake, but further segments of the story arrive every Tuesday, and Camille slowly learns the history of a stranger named Louie and Annie, his beautiful childhood friend and first love. In the days leading up to the Second World War, Annie began spending her free time with Madame M., a wealthy, barren wife obsessed with having a child, and eventually disappeared with her.
After the war Louis found Annie and learned the truth, that she had offered to bear the child of Madame M.'s husband. According to Annie, Madame M. eventually turned against her out of jealousy over the child. However, Annie fails to account for five months of her absence, and Louis has reason to wonder: Was Annie the victim of a deranged kidnapper, or a devious seductress who destroyed a woman's life? As the truth unfolds, Camille eventually realizes the secrets contained in the letters may intersect with her own life in a surprising way.
Alison Anderson's seamless translation allows the terse voices of Grémillon's characters to shine through with all their passion, envy and betrayal. This promising beginning from a new talent will keep readers guessing until its startling finale.
***This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness. Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at http://www.shelf-awareness.com for the latest news and reviews! This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness.***