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.
Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix was an intriguing novel that was I enjoyed immensely. This novel was written beautifully and showed a great deal of historical detail and accuracy that could only have come with a great deal of research. Her description of the town of Lamorlaye and the chateau in the novel were clear and well written, and it was evident that the author had lived in the same area as well. The plot line of Tangled Ashes was filled with suspense, mystery, and personal adversity and struggle. The novel emphasized the importance of learning to love others and oneself, the value of faith in God, and the danger and harm that alcoholism can have for all involved. I enjoyed the fact that while there was some romance in the novel, it did not end in a way typical way and was not the main focus of the novel. The narration of the story was very interesting. Most of the story was told from the perspective of Becker as he worked to renovate the chateau, get over his alcohol addiction, and learn to communicate and live with others. However, after every few chapters there is a chapter from sixty years previously at the same chateau which is told from the perspective of Marie. Marie is a young French girl who is working for the Nazis in Nazi controlled France, and the events she is working through have unexpected influences on what Becker sees and experiences.
The characters of Tangled Ashes were well written and realistic. Each of the main characters had their own strengths, flaws, and struggles that made them very sympathetic to the reader. Becker was full of his own problems and it was very convicting and inspiring to begin to see him work through them. I do not want to give too much away, but the other characters were also interesting and well developed, and the characters involved in the side story of this novel also went through a process of great redemption throughout the course of the novel. Overall, I found Tangled Ashes to be a great read, and I look forward to reading other novels of Michele Phoenix.
I received this novel for free from Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.