Author: Marina Kemp
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: 4th Estate
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book at the 4th Estate Live event, with a beautiful cover and an intriguing synopsis, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Synopsis: Marguerite Demers is twenty-four when she leaves Paris for the sleepy southern village of Saint-Sulpice, to take up a job as a live-in nurse. Her charge is Jerome Lanvier , once one of the most powerful men in the village and now dying alone in his large and secluded house, surrounded by rambling gardens. Manipulative and tyrannical, Jerome has scared away all his previous nurses. It’s not long before the villagers have formed opinions of Marguerite. Brigitte Brochon, pillar of the community and local busybody, finds her arrogant and mysterious and is desperate to find a reason to have her fired. Glamorous outsider Suki Lacourse see Marguerite as an ally in a sea of small-minded provincialism. Local farmer Henri Brochon, husband of Brigitte, feels concern for her and wants to protect her from the villagers’ intrusive gossip and speculation- but Henri has a secret of his own that would intrigue and disturb his neighbours just as much as the truth about Marguerite, if only they knew…
‘Marguerite’ is my first 5 star read of the year. I absolutely loved this book. It was the perfect book to loose yourself in, it was full of great characters, beautiful descriptions and such intrigue.
The story begins with Marguerite arriving at the house to begin her new job, working for Jerome. She goes onto meet the villagers, one of them being Henri and the two characters intertwine.
What really shines for me in this book is it’s characters. Marguerite is a character, full of secrets and sadness and she’s a great character to follow. Then there’s Henri, I can honestly say he has become one of my favourite characters. One of the best I’ve read in a long time. Kemp manages to perfectly execute Henri’s confusion and shame over his true self, yet still he’s likeable and an anchor in the book. My heart just broke for him. He’s honestly one of the best and most complex characters I’ve read in a long time.
While being full of great characters, the supporting ones are just as brilliant. It’s also full of such dynamic relationships. This is going to be hard to talk about without giving any spoilers, but the connection Henri and Marguerite form is so surprising and yet makes total sense. Marguerite and Jerome’s relationship becomes so organic and sincere, it’s truly a pleasure to read. The nurse/patient relationship is brilliantly done, with them going on to gain respect for each other is wonderful to read.
This is novel is so full of intrigue, I was desperate to find out why Marguerite had moved to this small, rural town. I loved reading about what led her to Saint-Sulpice and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The ending did not disappoint, though it definitely left me wanting more and that’s the sign of a great book.
It’s hard to believe this is Marina Kemps debut novel. This book is beautifully written, with Kemp creating a perfect atmosphere for the story to be set in. It’s got a fantastic plot filled with love, death, prejudice and sorrow. The whole novel is rich and lush. A real treat for any reader to read.
I can’t recommend this book enough. Thank you to 4th Estate Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out February 6th.
Also, this part 1 of 2 of these blog posts. I have a little Q+A coming up with the Author Marina Kemp, where she talks more about this novel, it’s characters and her writing process. So make sure you check that out.
Until the next review