Alexandra Bracken • Lore (2021)

Lore • Alexandra Bracken • Disney Hyperion • 480 pages • Janvier 2021

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.


Ce roman avait tout de suite attiré mon regard par cette magnifique couverture avec la tête de la Gorgone. Une nouvelle réécriture de la mythologie grecque, qui ramène les dieux de l’Olympe dans notre époque… Lore a un petit côté Percy Jackson qui a rencontré les Hunger Games. Le livre tient ses promesses dès les premières pages.

L’univers mis en place par Alexandra Bracken m’a tout de suite plu. J’ai toujours aimé cette idée de garder un élément du passé qui soit toujours d’actualité. La tradition et les croyances de la Grèce antique sont toujours vivantes à travers l’Agon, cette chasse aux dieux voulue par Zeus en punition de leur rébellion. Les chasseurs sont des descendants des principaux grands héros grecs, comme Persée, Hercule ou Ulysse et Achille. Déjà, rien que ces deux points ont été plutôt positifs, à mon avis, et ils fonctionnent parfaitement dans ce roman. L’aspect mythologique donne un côté épique à ce combat entre les hommes et les dieux. Il est également violent et sanglant. Alexandra Bracken ne cache rien de la violence et des trahisons que l’Agon engendre pendant huit jours. Il y a une règle que j’ai beaucoup aimé, rajoutant beaucoup de tension : lorsque les dieux entrent dans l’Agon, ils deviennent mortels. Si un des chasseurs tue un dieu, il devient un nouveau dieu et absorbe les pouvoirs de l’ancien. C’est un point qui est globalement très bien développé et pensé. J’ai trouvé que d’autres, en revanche, étaient plus confus, comme la manière dont se termine définitivement l’Agon.

Le roman a beaucoup de grosses scènes d’action. Certaines séquences sont réellement dignes d’un film hollywoodien avec des hélicoptères, des explosions à tout-va, des destructions… Malheureusement, entre ces grands moments, il y a des périodes un peu plus lentes, qui cassent parfois le rythme. Cependant, j’ai conscience qu’ils sont aussi nécessaires, car ils permettent aux personnages de planifier leurs prochains mouvements, de reprendre leur souffle et panser leurs blessures. Ils sont aussi bienvenus, car ils donnent l’occasion d’en apprendre un peu plus sur Melora, ce qui est arrivé à sa famille… Il y a quelques rebondissements et révélations qui m’ont laissé abasourdie. Ma curiosité était constamment piquée et les pages se tournent facilement.

Les personnages principaux, comme secondaires, restent aussi un point du roman que j’ai apprécié. J’avais un peu peur de retrouver un quelconque triangle amoureux ou des relations amoureux ou amicales qui se développent trop vite, notamment du fait de l’urgence de la situation. Or, elles sont souvent déjà préexistantes à l’intrigue. Elles m’ont semblé crédibles et elles continuent à se développer tout au long de l’Agon. Ils sont une bonne dynamique, malgré leurs désaccords, des volontés contradictoires. Lore est un personnage intéressant, qui évolue au fur et à mesure.

Lore était un roman que je comptais découvrir depuis sa sortie et je ne regrette pas cette lecture. Elle a été prenante avec un univers original, plutôt bien développé et des personnages attachants. Le coup de coeur n’était vraiment pas loin, mais c’est un bon ouvrage autour de la mythologie grecque.

Top 5 Wednesday • Back to school

Le thème de cette semaine s’intitule Back to school. Le sens peut être très large, puisque sont acceptés les livres lus durant les études ou ceux parlant d’écoles, de lycées, d’universités… C’est plutôt dans ce sens-là que j’ai axé ma sélection. Les romans que je vous propose ont tous été lus.

The Assignment • Liza Wiemer

SENIOR YEAR. When an assignment given by a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution, a euphemism used to describe the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people, Logan March and Cade Crawford are horrified. Their teacher cannot seriously expect anyone to complete an assignment that fuels intolerance and discrimination. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand. As the school administration addressed the teens’ refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well. The situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result. What does it take for tolerance, justice, and love to prevail?

They never learn • Layne Fargo

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

In my dreams I hold a knife • Ashley Winstead

A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Métamorphoses, Vita Nostra • Marina et Sergueï Diatchenko

Vita nostra brevis est, brevi finietur…
« Notre vie est brève, elle finira bientôt… »

C’est dans le bourg paumé de Torpa que Sacha entonnera l’hymne des étudiants, à l’« Institut des technologies spéciales ». Pour y apprendre quoi ? Allez savoir. Dans quel but et en vue de quelle carrière ? Mystère encore. Il faut dire que son inscription ne relève pas exactement d’un choix : on la lui a imposée… Comment s’étonner dès lors de l’apparente absurdité de l’enseignement, de l’arbitraire despotisme des professeurs et de l’inquiétante bizarrerie des étudiants ?

A-t-on affaire, avec Vita nostra, à un roman d’initiation à la magie ? Oui et non. On évoque irrésistiblement la saga d’Harry Potter et plus encore Les Magiciens de Lev Grossman. Mêmes jeunes esprits en formation, même apprentissage semé d’obstacles. Mais c’est sur une autre terre et dans une autre culture, slaves celles-là, que reposent les fondations d’un livre qui nous rappellera que le Verbe se veut à l’origine du monde. Les lecteurs de fantasy occidentale saturés d’aspirations à l’héroïsme tous azimuts en seront tourneboulés.

My dark Vanessa • Kate Elizabeth Russell

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself. 

Sorties VO • Septembre 2021

Seven visitations of Sydney Burgess • Andy Marino • RedHook • 28 septembre • 304 pages

Sydney’s spent years burying her past and building a better life for herself and her eleven-year old son. A respectable marketing job, a house with reclaimed and sustainable furniture, and a boyfriend who loves her son and accepts her, flaws and all. But when she opens her front door, and a masked intruder knocks her briefly unconscious, everything begins to unravel. 

She wakes in the hospital and tells a harrowing story of escape. Of dashing out a broken window. Of running into her neighbors’ yard and calling the police. What the cops tell her is that she can no longer trust her memories. Because they say that not only is the intruder lying dead in her guest room, but he’s been murdered in a way that seems intimately personal. 

When she returns home, Sydney can’t shake the deep darkness that hides in every corner. There’s an unnatural whisper in her ear, urging her back to old addictions. And as her memories slowly return, she begins to fear that her new life was never built on solid ground-and that the secrets buried beneath will change everything. 

These toxic things • Rachel Howzell Hall • Thomas & Mercer • 1 septembre • 415 pages

Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain―twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.

But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.

It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.

The slow march of light • Heather B. Moore • Shadow Mountain • 7 septembre • 368 pages

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West.

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He’s glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner.

The Collector’s Daughter • Gill Paul • William Morrow • 7 septembre • 384 pages

Lady Evelyn Herbert was the daughter of the Earl of Carnarvon, brought up in stunning Highclere Castle. Popular and pretty, she seemed destined for a prestigious marriage, but she had other ideas. Instead, she left behind the world of society balls and chaperones to travel to the Egyptian desert, where she hoped to become a lady archaeologist, working alongside her father and Howard Carter in the hunt for an undisturbed tomb.

In November 1922, their dreams came true when they discovered the burial place of Tutankhamun, packed full of gold and unimaginable riches, and she was the first person to crawl inside for three thousand years. She called it the “greatest moment” of her life—but soon afterwards everything changed, with a string of tragedies that left her world a darker, sadder place.

Newspapers claimed it was “the curse of Tutankhamun,” but Howard Carter said no rational person would entertain such nonsense. Yet fifty years later, when an Egyptian academic came asking questions about what really happened in the tomb, it unleashed a new chain of events that seemed to threaten the happiness Eve had finally found.

The Matzah Ball • Jean Meltzer • MIRA • 28 septembre • 416 pages

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

The Corpse Queen • Heather Herrman • GP Putnam • 14 septembre • 320 pages

Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her « aunt. » With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as free domestic labor for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share–for a price.

Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaSalle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance. 

The Magicians • Colm Toibin • Scribner • 7 septembre • 512 pages

Colm Tóibín’s new novel opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.

The Girl behind the wall • Mandy Robotham • Avon • 7 septembre • 416 pages

A city divided. When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.

Two sisters torn apart. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.

One impossible choice… When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?

The last legacy • Adrienne Young • Wednesday Books • 7 septembre • 336 pages

When a letter from her uncle Henrik arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay. 

All these bodies • Kendare Blake • Quill Tree Books • 16 septembre • 304 pages

Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere. 

September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.

Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to. 

As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies? 

Summers Sons • Lee Mandelo • Tordotcom • 28 septembre • 384 pages

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him. 

Cloud Cuckoo Land • Anthony Doerr • Scribner • 28 septembre • 640 pages

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.

Kim Taylor Blakemore • After Alice fell (2021)

After Alice fell • Kim Taylor Blakemore • Mars 2021 • Lake Union Publishing • 288 pages

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories.

Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot. 


After Alice fell est une des publications pour 2021 qui me tentait le plus. Outre une très belle couverture, il promettait une histoire autour d’un secret de famille et une ambiance plutôt sombre. Deux éléments que j’apprécie énormément. Le livre n’est malheureusement pas tout à fait le coup de coeur que j’espérais.

En effet, le roman souffre malheureusement de nombreuses longueurs, donnant un rythme très lent et inégal, car, parfois, l’intrigue fait un bon en avant, sans je m’y attendais. Kim Taylor Blakemore donne beaucoup d’importance à certains détails ; elle prend également son temps dans les descriptions. Je peux comprendre que cela peut rebuter certains lecteurs. Il y a des moments où j’avais envie d’abandonner, ayant l’impression de stagner dans l’histoire. Cependant, il y avait tout de même quelque chose dans ce livre qui me donnait envie d’avoir les réponses sur le destin d’Alice. Pourquoi a-t-elle été placée dans une institution ? Est-ce véritablement un suicide ou, comme le pense sa soeur, Marion Abbott, un meurtre ?

L’atmosphère qui se dégage du livre m’a également énormément charmé. Je suis très sensible à ce point durant une lecture. Ici, cet aspect a été déterminant pour continuer la lecture. Elle est sombre et pesante et elle s’en ressent d’un bout à l’autre. Même si l’histoire se déroule en différents lieux, j’ai eu l’impression de lire un huis-clos, à cause de cette tension omniprésente dans les relations, tendues, entre les différents membres de cette famille. Tout converge vers cette maison familiale où des drames se sont noués. Je me suis sentie enfermée dans cette famille, ayant l’impression de ne pas pouvoir m’y échapper.

Par ailleurs, j’ai apprécié cette idée de départ qui donne tout de suite une touche de mystère à l’intrigue. Alice s’est-elle vraiment suicidée ou l’a-t-on assassinée ? Si oui, pourquoi ? C’est un schéma relativement classique, mais plutôt bien développé par l’auteur. Des soupçons pèsent sur l’un ou l’autre des personnages à cause de propos ou des gestes, des attitudes qui dérangent, posent question. La fin m’a tout de même étonnée. Il y a quelques révélations et rebondissements inattendus qui rattrapent les longueurs qu’il y a pu avoir. L’intrigue s’accélère dans les dernières pages et j’ai retenu mon souffle jusqu’à la toute dernière. Marion est un personnage attachant, et, en tant que lectrice, j’ai pris à coeur son combat pour découvrir la vérité sur les circonstances de la mort de sa petite soeur.

After Alice fell n’est certes pas un coup de coeur, mais je suis ravie d’avoir pu le lire. Malgré un rythme inégal, il y a de nombreux aspects que j’ai aimé dans ce livre : le mystère à résoudre, l’ambiance et le personnage principal. En lisant d’autres avis, j’ai l’impression qu’avec ce roman, c’est quitte ou double : soit on aime, soit on est plus que sceptique. Si je croise la route d’autres ouvrages de l’auteur, pourquoi pas !

Top 5 Wednesday • Debut Novels

Le thème de cette semaine met en avant le premier roman publié d’un auteur. Quels sont mes cinq préférés ? J’ai essayé de me le limiter à ceux lus depuis le début d’année.

The Lost Apothecary • Sarah Penner

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

The lights of Prague • Nicole Jarvis

In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavice, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischerová– a widow with secrets of her own.

When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.

After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavice that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.

The lost village • Camilla Sten

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone. They’re looking for the truth… But what if it finds them first?

The Miniaturist • Jesse Burton

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

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The Year of the Witching • Alexis Henderson

A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her. 

Molly Greeley • The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh

The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh • Molly Greeley • Janvier 2020 • William Morrow • 357 pages

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.


Je continue ma découverte de livres s’inspirant de l’univers de Jane Austen. En décembre, je lisais The Jane Austen Society, en me promettant de lire les romans de cette auteur. La moitié de l’année est bien passée et je n’ai toujours pas ouvert l’un d’entre eux. Je reviens avec la chronique d’un livre qui se déroule dans l’univers de Pride & Prejudice, puisque Molly Greeley s’intéresse à un personnage tertiaire, Anne de Bourgh, la cousine de Fitzwilliam Darcy, qu’il aurait dû épouser.

Ne pas avoir lu le roman de Jane Austen n’est pas un problème. Il y a juste quelques éléments principaux de l’intrigue qui sont dévoilés. Cependant, c’est une histoire assez connue, donc pas de réels spoilers. La lecture a été plutôt en demi-teinte. En effet, le roman présente beaucoup de longueurs dès le début. À la rigueur, cela me paraissait être un choix parfait pour la première partie. L’histoire est racontée à la première personne et les premières pages sont racontées alors qu’Anne de Bourgh est sous l’emprise du laudanum, une drogue largement utilisée durant l’époque victorienne. Pour Anne, elle est traitée avec ce « médicament » depuis qu’elle est bébé. Toutefois, quand elle parvient enfin à s’en passer, je m’attendais à ce que le livre devienne un peu plus rythmée, dynamique, mais, malheureusement, le tout reste très lent. En tant que lectrice, j’ai bien eu souvent l’envie de secouer Anne.

C’est un aspect intéressant du livre que l’écriture suive l’état de santé du personnage principal. Cela permet de voir à quel point le laudanum avait une emprise sur Anne, à quel point il changeait sa personnalité. Il y a une véritable évolution de cette dernière. Elle sort de sa chrysalide après son sevrage, même si parfois trop doucement à mon goût. Le roman a un côté initiatique, aspect renforcé par le contexte historique de la saison londonienne où toutes les filles de bonne famille se retrouvaient pour trouver un mari. C’est souvent un rite de passage obligé à cette époque. L’aspect historique est bien développé.

Le fait que l’intrigue est issue de l’univers de Jane Austen devient presque anecdotique. Pendant de longs passages, j’oubliais presque que la base de l’oeuvre est Pride & Prejudice. C’est quand on croise Darcy et Elizabeth que je me rappelais qu’Anne de Bourgh est un personnage tertiaire de ce roman. Tout comme dans le roman de Jane Austen, les relations sociales et amoureuses, la pression faite aux jeunes femmes de trouver le meilleur parti est au coeur de l’intrigue. Molly Greeley évoque également les relations homosexuelles au sein de cette société conservatrice et c’est un point assez intéressant du roman. Par ailleurs, j’ai aussi beaucoup aimé les passages où la mère d’Anne évoque la maladie de sa famille. Ce sont des passages qui m’ont profondément révolté, mais c’est ce qui se faisait à l’époque.

The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh est un roman historique intéressant, mais qui souffre de nombreuses longueurs. Cependant, il m’a plu par d’autres aspects : le personnage principal attachant, la description du contexte historique. Le fait fait que l’auteur trouve son inspiration dans l’oeuvre de Jane Austen ne change pas grand chose à cette intrigue. Personnellement, je l’ai plus vu comme un détail anecdotique.

Top 5 Wednesday • Halfway there!

Je reviens avec le Top 5 Wednesday (et un article en retard). Les thèmes de Juillet ne m’ont guère inspiré, contrairement à ceux d’août. Le premier est Halway there! Il consiste à présenter les cinq meilleurs livres publiés depuis le début d’année. Je ne les ai pas forcément rangés dans un ordre d’appréciation.

Don’t tell a soul – Kristen Miller

Goodreads

J’ai adoré ce roman d’un bout à l’autre. L’ambiance est parfaite, bien dosée avec le suspens. Ce dernier est présent et parfaitement maîtrisé. Impossible de mettre le livre de côté pendant quelques secondes.

Sistersong • Lucy Holland

Goodreads

Un très bon roman sur trois soeurs très différentes. Des jalousies, des drames, le tout sous fond de Bretagne historique et mythique… J’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé et j’ai vraiment envie de lire d’autres ouvrages dans cette veine.

The lost village • Camilla Sten

Goodreads

Un thriller psychologique avec énormément de suspens et de tension. Il est haletant et un vrai page-turner. Il est juste dommage que la fin ne soit pas à la hauteur de mes espérances.

Near the bone • Christina Henry

Goodreads

Christina Henry est une de mes auteurs préférés et chacune de ses nouvelle publications finies entre mes mains. J’avais très envie de découvrir celui-ci et je ne suis pas déçue. Encore un livre avec une ambiance sombre, des passages pas toujours facile. Un autre mythe est exploré.

The Lights of Prague • Nicole Jarvis

Goodreads

Je découvre une nouvelle auteur avec ce roman. Prague est une ville que je rêve de pouvoir visiter, et encore plus après cette lecture. J’ai adoré l’univers, l’ambiance et les personnages. Je serai bien partante pour un deuxième tome.

Sorties VO • Août 2021

A lesson in vengeance • Victoria Lee • Delacorte Press • 3 août • 384 pages

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

The Dead & the Dark • Courtney Gould • Wednesday Books • 3 août • 352 pages

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

The Turnout • Megan Abbott • Putnam’s Son • 3 août • 352 pages

Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration, an interloper arrives and threatens the delicate balance of everything they’ve worked for.

Once there were wolves • Charlotte McConaghy • Flatiron Books • 3 août • 272 pages

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?

The family plot • Megan Collins • Atria Books • 17 août • 320 pages

At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse has a lot to learn when it comes to the real world. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she has spent the last several years living on her own, but unable to move beyond her past—especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen.

With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house she has avoided for years. But as the rest of the Lighthouse family arrives for the memorial, a gruesome discovery is made: buried in the reserved plot is another body—Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.

Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic façade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.

In my dreams I hold a knife • Ashley Winstead • Sourcebooks Landmark • 31 août • 368 pages

A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

The Witch Haven • Sasha Peyton Smith • Simon & Schuster • 31 août • 448 pages

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

The woods are always watching • Stephanie Perkins • Dutton Books • 31 août • 304 pages

A traditional backwoods horror story set–first page to last–in the woods of the Pisgah National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Two girls go backpacking in the woods. Things go very wrong.

And, then, their paths collide with a serial killer. 

The bookseller’s secret • Michelle Gable • Graydon House • 17 août • 400 pages

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.

Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present…

The Women of Troy • Pat Baker • Doubleday • 24 août • 304 pages

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can – with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest – and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women • Nancy Marie Brown • St Martin’s Press • 31 août • 336 pages

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. The Real Valkyrie weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine her life and times, showing that Viking women had more power and agency than historians have imagined.

Brown uses science to link the Birka warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. She imagines her life intersecting with larger-than-life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. Hervor’s short, dramatic life shows that much of what we have taken as truth about women in the Viking Age is based not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases. Rather than holding the household keys, Viking women in history, law, saga, poetry, and myth carry weapons. These women brag, “As heroes we were widely known—with keen spears we cut blood from bone.” In this compelling narrative Brown brings the world of those valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.

The last Mona Lisa • Jonathan Santlofer • Sourcebook Landmark • 17 août • 400 pages

August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.

Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.

A gripping novel exploring the 1911 theft and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake. 

Nick Setchfield • The War in the Dark (2018)

The War in the Dark • Nick Setchfield • Titan Books • Juillet 2018 • 352 pages

Europe. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.
 
When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarova, he’s caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in a language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.
 
Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . . .
 
It’s a world of treachery, blood and magic. A world at war in the dark.


Je ne savais pas vraiment à quoi m’attendre avec ce roman. Ma liseuse ne me donne que le titre et la couverture et aucun résumé. Je me doutais que c’était un livre fantastique. Je l’ai donc commencé sans aucune attente particulière, alors que j’étais depuis quelques semaines dans une bonne panne de lecture. Finalement, j’ai été surprise par ce livre. Je ne le qualifierai pas de coup de coeur, mais The War in the Dark est un bon divertissement.

Il y a de l’ADN de Cassandra Clare dans ce premier tome. Ils ont sensiblement la même idée de départ : une guerre secrète qui dure depuis des millénaires entre les démons, qui cherchent à envahir notre monde et des sorciers et sociétés secrètes qui soit les aident, soit essaient de les en empêcher. Dans mon cas, ce genre d’histoire marche toujours. Nick Setchfield se démarque de Cassandra Clare en proposant un roman d’espionnage classique. Or, c’est rare de trouver un mélange de genre entre espionnage et fantastique. En tout cas, dans ce roman, je trouve que ça fonctionne étonnamment bien… Le tout sous fond de Guerre froide et de conflits entre les services secrets britannique et russe. Le contexte est d’autant plus parfait qu’il se prête bien à ce type d’intrigue.

Cette dernière est prenante et, dès les premières pages, j’ai été happée dans cette aventure pour retrouver un mystérieux manuscrit. J’ai aimé la construction du roman, un peu comme un jeu vidéo avec un lieu (généralement une ville), une péripétie (trouver un indice, un morceau de manuscrit ou une personne) et à la fin, les « méchants » qui tombent sur les deux personnages principaux, un peu à la manière des « boss » intermédiaires avant le grand final. Cela donne du rythme à l’histoire et, pour sortir d’une panne de lecture, c’est parfait ! Après, j’ai aussi conscience que, sur certains points, cela gâchait quelque peu le suspens, car le lecteur sait comment la séquence va se terminer. Cependant, il y a quelques révélations et rebondissements que je n’ai pas vu venir, notamment concernant le personnage principal, Christopher Winter.

Concernant les personnages, je n’ai pas eu de réel coup de coeur pour l’un ou l’autre. Je suis restée très en retrait en ce qui concerne leurs drames, les morts qu’ils croisent au gré de leur aventure. Même leur destin ne m’a pas plus intéressée que ça alors que les dernières pages laissent penser qu’ils s’en sont sortis difficilement. Cela a été pour moi le plus gros point négatif du roman. Le duo est également quelque peu cliché entre l’espion britannique gentleman et au passé sombre, et une espionne russe, maîtrisant parfaitement les techniques de combat, le maniement des armes, froide et prête à tout…

Il existe un deuxième tome, The Spider Game. Il n’est absolument pas dans mes priorités du moment. Ce premier livre a une fin relativement fermée pour se suffire à lui-même. Les principales questions sont répondues et il n’y aucun cliffhanger. The War in the Dark a été un roman divertissant, mais qui ne me laissera pas un souvenir impérissable.

Emily Gray Tredrowe • The talented Miss Farwell (2020)

The talented Miss Farwell • Emily Gray Tedrowe • Custom House • Septembre 2020 • 352 pages

At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie’s in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she’s known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she’s a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.

But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely—a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family’s farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town’s treasurer and controller. 

No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson’s accounts better than Becky; she’s the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. What Pierson doesn’t see—and can never discover—is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, “borrowed” funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable. 

But as Reba Farwell’s deals get bigger and bigger, Becky Farwell’s debt to Pierson spirals out of control. How long can the talented Miss Farwell continue to pull off her double life? 


J’apprécie énormément quand un ouvrage évoque l’histoire ou le marché de l’art. Je suis plutôt demandeuse de ce type d’histoire, regardant avec attention les nouvelles parutions. The talented Miss Farwell avait retenu toute ma curiosité : une collectionneuse, une arnaque… Ça avait de quoi me plaire. Malheureusement, cela n’a pas été le cas.

Le roman commençait bien. Emily Gray Tedrowe nous présente Becca, une jeune fille intelligente qui aurait pu faire de grandes études si elle n’avait pas dû s’occuper de son père malade. Sa vie aurait pu être monotone, mais son chemin a croisé celui d’un tableau. Elle s’est mise en tête qu’elle avait un besoin viscéral de la posséder. J’aurais aimé que ce point soit développé, car cela aurait pu être intéressant, notamment pour moi, historienne de l’art, que de le retrouver dans un roman. Cependant, l’auteur botte bien souvent en touche, donnant aussi au personnage principal un manque de profondeur. Elle est timide et effacée, sauf quand elle se rend dans des galeries ou des foires d’art contemporain. C’est donc un aspect essentiel de sa personnalité, mais c’est trop superficiel pour moi.

Je m’attendais à plus d’actions, mais surtout à plus de suspens en commençant ce livre. Malheureusement, ils ne sont pas au rendez-vous. Que les premières pages peuvent paraître un peu lentes, je veux bien le pardonner. Il faut toujours un peu de temps pour mettre en place les principaux éléments de l’intrigue, présenter la double vie de Becca. Puis l’intrigue démarre réellement. J’ai abandonné ce livre alors que je n’étais pas si loin de la fin. Tout simplement, l’histoire ne semblait pas prendre une direction claire. Sans suspens ou élément de surprise qui viennent donner une impulsion à l’intrigue, un rythme qui s’accélère, The talented Miss Farwell en devient très ennuyeux.

Un autre point sur lequel j’ai envie de réagir est la description du monde de l’art. Le roman met l’accent sur le côté glamour et spectaculaire du marché de l’art avec des sommes folles dépensées dans des oeuvres, des fêtes où le champagne coule à flot, la présence du luxe… Cet aspect amène un fort contraste avec la vie de Becca dans sa petite ville et son double, Rebba, collectionneuse qui se crée progressivement une réputation. Je n’ai pas trop cherché à savoir si c’était réaliste ou non, tout simplement, cela amenait un peu de changement dans l’ennui absolu que sont la vie de Becca et les passages qui lui sont consacrés.

Ennui renforcé par le fait que l’auteur m’a totalement perdu dans ses explications sur la manière dont Becca trouvait l’argent, comment elle en remboursait une partie… Elle va très loin dans ce domaine et avec les petites bases en comptabilité que j’ai, ce n’était pas suffisant pour pouvoir suivre tous les mouvements. Si ce n’était qu’un passage où elle expose toutes les ficelles de la combine une bonne fois pour toutes, ça aurait pu passer. Cependant, ce sont des paragraphes assez récurrents. Cet aspect du roman participe à sa lourdeur et à son côté assommant.

The talented Miss Farwell est un roman qui semblait prometteur aux premiers abords, avec un thème central qui me passionne depuis des années. Malheureusement, j’ai vraiment été déçue, et je m’attendais à une histoire plus rythmée et pleine de suspens et rebondissements. Aucun des personnages ne m’a réellement marqué, durant et après ma lecture. Becca est à l’image du livre, plate et inintéressante. J’ai quelque peu le sentiment d’avoir perdu mon temps avec ce livre.