You Let Me Go by Eliza Graham
ABOUT THE BOOK
After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?
When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?
Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?
This is a story told in a dual timeline. One during the German occupation of France and one in the present day.
Rozenn Guillou Caradec is Morane “Morie” Caradec’s grandmother who died and left Morie’s sister her home and Morie with a silver compass. Resentment aside for her grandmother’s slight, Morie finds a partial letter and puzzling photographs that lead Morie to Brittany, France, where her grandmother met her grandfather. A grandfather Morie knew little about along with many other shocking secrets her grandmother held.
In 1941, Rozenn is pulled from Paris to reside in St. Martin in Brittany with her family as they learn to ration their food and keep clear of the Germans who are stationed nearby. Her loyalty to her family is strong as she tries to keep the secrets that could get them arrested. Meeting the handsome and local, Luc Caradec, will change her life forever as her actions that one shameful and fateful night will eventually come to light.
When Morie finds her grandmother’s cryptic letters that refer to her temporary home in France, she is determined to find out about Rozenn and what she was hiding. What she finds in the beautiful St. Martin, is a house similar to Rozenn’s house in Cornwall, a few nosy, but friendly locals, and a story about sacrifice and betrayal.
Rozenn and Morie are very similar. They are independent, strong, and stubborn women. Their love of architecture and creating beauty is a big part of their lives. And their personal lives are filled with regrets and remorse for things past. Rozenn’s story is filled with sadness and some happy moments, but I felt she was a lonely woman throughout her life. She loved her son and her granddaughters and she enjoyed her job, but her guilt from the past weighed on her. Morie also had misfortunes that left her alone and regretful as she strived to keep her head above water and worked hard to have at least a civil relationship with her sister. But as Morie discovers the truth and receives a precious gift that only she would appreciate, it brings closure to her life.
Ms. Graham does a wonderful job placing the reader in Brittany, France with the Germans patrolling the beach and unrolling barbed wire, and in Rozenn’s home on a small creek off the Helford estuary on the south coast of Cornwall. Her characters are complex and her plot is intriguing and mysterious, so much so that this reader couldn’t wait to find out Rozenn’s story and how it related to Morie.
Thank you to Ms. Graham for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.
She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently, she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.
It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home, she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.
Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.
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