Thursday, 10 May 2018

#review 15 of 2018 - The Corsican Widow by Vanessa Couchman

Fiction ...and non-fiction- I need a bit of both! 

My reading is quite varied just now, and I'm catching up with writing short reviews of books recently read. Much as I enjoy reading non-fiction for my own writing purposes, I need to have the balance with some fiction purely for enjoyment, and I especially love it when the fiction is really beautifully written. 

I've read Vanessa Couchman's novel- The House At Zaronza - and knew the kind of tale that Vanessa can weave in the hot sunny climes of Mediterranean Corsica. I really looked forward to reading her new one, and wondered how she would be linking that House at Zaronza to a different time period. I can definitely say I wasn't disappointed, and I probably liked The Corsican Widow even more than the first story of that house at Zaronza. (fickle memory means I can't quite remember the feelings as  I read the first story, for comparison!) 

Here's what I thought of The Corsican Widow by Vanessa Couchman

This was an engrossing read. It wasn't always a comfortable read, some very old Corsican customs not quite being what we're used to today, but they did make it very easy to empathise with the main character, Valeria. Being so very biddable at the beginning of the novel was compatible with the expectations of the time for a young woman on Corsica, although the author showed that Valeria was already stepping out of the mould before her traditional, and essentially forced, marriage to an older, if kindly, man. 

Those little hints of escape, from the tight restraints of adhering to family respectability, are built upon as the story progresses to the point at which Valeria is able to fend for herself, when she finds life turns very nasty for her. 

Some of the male characters who feature in the background are easy to like as well, others definitely not so much, but as this is essentially Valeria's story their appearances are very well portrayed in this well-written and well-edited tale of Corsica and beyond.

I liked learning a little of the history of Corsica, and would definitely recommend it as a good holiday read for a Mediterranean trip, or for someone who likes to read light historical fiction with a hint of intrigue.
I really enjoyed this 5* read. 


1 comment:

  1. It's always useful getting a taster of the historical background like this. And I love Jane's decision to include factual background in the novel but keep it separate from the main text - clever.


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