Wednesday, May 10, 2006

'The Gypsy Madonna' (Santa Montefiore)

The Gypsy Madonna is Chocolat meets Chateau Ella meets The Property of a Lady.

Santa Montefiore’s sixth novel gives us Mischa – six years old, clever, shy, and cruelly sidelined by his insular
Bordeaux village for having a soldier father who was a ‘Boche’, a German.

Hiding behind ferns, in doorways and under tables, Mischa spies on and befriends the colourful guests at the chateau in which Maman works after the war. The women adore him but he never says a word, until the dashing Coyote arrives to transform the lives of mother and son.

Then, The Gypsy Madonna takes another turn entirely: into Mischa’s adult life. Into intrigue and heirlooms, secrets and memories, tragedy and awakening. And the author unveils the Titian masterpiece that is the novel’s provenance.

This is a simply glorious book. But beware: the back cover blurb does it absolutely no justice.

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