In 1986, Kate Darling is a 27-year-old photographer still mourning her mother, June, a celebrated ballerina; the two had been exceptionally close. After the subsequent death of June’s adoptive mother, Evie, Kate is shaken to learn that Evie had withheld information about June’s birth mother. An exquisite decades-old sketch of a beautiful dark-haired woman with a striking resemblance to June leads Kate to renowned artist Thomas Stafford, now an elderly widower living on Corsica.
Intervening sections reveal the tale of a long-ago love that transformed Tom’s life. He and Alice Eversley, born into different social classes, become friends as children, when their families vacation on Cornwall during the lazy summer of 1913. They meet again at an English house party in 1928. Although separated due to life circumstances, neither forgets the other.
While imperfect, this debut novel has much to recommend it. Fans of Kimberley Freeman, Lucinda Riley, and Rachel Hore will want to look for it.
The Book of Lost and Found was published by Back Bay/Hachette in August ($14.99/C$17.99, pb, 432pp). Previously, it was published by Harper UK. I reviewed it for the Historical Novels Review's November issue. Which cover do you like best? The US design, at top left, is based on an actual photograph of the Corsican coastline, which amazed me. What a view!