Title: Whispering in French
Author: Sophia Nash
Genre/Audience: Fiction, adult
Publication: William Morrow, 2017
Source: For review, TLC Book Tours
As a child, Kate Hamilton was packed off each summer to her grandfather’s ivy-covered villa in southern France. That ancestral home, named Marthe Marie, is now crumbling, and it falls to Kate—regarded as the most responsible and practical member of her family—to return to the rugged, beautiful seaside region to confront her grandfather’s debts and convince him to sell.
Kate makes her living as a psychologist and life coach, but her own life is in as much disarray as Marthe Marie. Her marriage has ended, and she’s convinced that she has failed her teenaged daughter, Lily, in unforgiveable ways. While delving into colorful family history and the consequences of her own choices, Kate reluctantly agrees to provide coaching to Major Edward Soames, a British military officer suffering with post-traumatic stress. Breaking through his shell, and dealing with idiosyncratic locals intent on viewing her as an Americanized outsider, will give Kate new insight into who—and where—she wants to be. The answers will prove as surprising as the secrets that reside in the centuries-old villa.
Witty and sophisticated, rich in history and culture, Sophia Nash’s novel vividly evokes both its idyllic French setting and the universal themes of self-forgiveness and rebuilding in a story as touching as it is wise.
This novel was described as being beautifully written and I have to agree — it definitely was — but it took a long time to get the story going. I grew kind of frustrated that there were so many references to something horrible that Kate had done to her daughter, but it wasn’t until about halfway through the book that you actually find out what that was.
There are a ton of vivid descriptions that are great if you want to truly visualize everything, even down to the wallpaper, but personally I find that a little distracting at times. I would rather have a more direct path to the actual story line, which I know is personal preference and not everyone will agree.
Ultimately, there is a truly interesting plot with really good characters, so I did end up enjoying this book once I got into it. Though it took me some time to start enjoying it, it got better as it went along. Recommended for the right kind of reader.
Guest review by mom, Kim.