Caroline Bishop ~ The Lost Chapter
Florence and Lilli meet at finishing school in Lyon. Despite some differences, they forge a firm friendship that promises to last a lifetime. But a terrible betrayal prematurely tears them apart.
Years later in England, Florence has become the woman her friend knew she could be – creative, bold, and independent. The exact opposite of Alice, a young woman troubled by a recent trauma, whom Florence is determined to help bring out of her shell. Just as Lilli once did for her.
When Florence discovers that the novel she’s reading is written by Lilli and is based on their time at school, the two stories begin to unfold together. Past events illuminate the future, and it becomes clear that long-held secrets can’t stay buried for ever.
Sometimes, a synopsis speaks to you. With just a short few paragraphs, you just feel that this book will capture your heart and whisk you away for some much needed escapism.
The Lost Chapter is one such book. Not only does it have an engrossing dual-timeline plot, but its characters are immediately relatable and engaging. I always wanted to go to boarding school and the Lyon finishing school where Florence and Lilli meet is a perfect example of why. Perhaps they’re young women, rather than children, but there’s still the ideal of living with your friends and having that genuine friendship, that comes from true intimacy.
This book succeeds where Lace did not; the dual timeline is clear and we learn about the two women through Lilli’s novel and Florence’s current life. Both women are feisty and interesting in their own way; while we learn more about Florence and who she became, Lilli is an enigma… we think we know her from her fictitious portrayal of herself, but do we really?
All of the characters are well rounded and believable, as are the relationships they have with one another. Alice is grieving, but we see her begin to open up and consider what it is she wants; in many ways she is a bit like Florence at the same age: hesitant and torn between what is right and what is easy. The trip they take together is wonderful and is quite an emotional journey for all of them.
The writing was excellent, descriptive but not overdone and it made me long for a trip to France where I too could lounge in a meadow with a picnic. There are twists, but none is contrived or ridiculous.
A thoroughly wonderful book and I really cannot fault it!
I was provided with a copy by Random Things Tours. Opinions my own.
For creative book and theatre reviews, please follow @Paradise_Library on Instagram.