The Light Behind The Window by Lucinda Riley


I’m not usually a fan of dual timeline novels, but this one really isn’t bad.  In 1999, a young Frenchwoman, Emilie, inherits her family’s run-down chateau and a wealth of artwork and jewellery.   She meets and soon marries an Englishman, Sebastian, who’s in the area because his grandmother was there whilst working for SOE during the war.

One of the estate workers remembers the grandmother, and the book goes back in time to tell us some of what happened to her, and to Emilie’s father, who was in the Resistance, during the War.  Then it goes forward again, and we see the newly-weds moving to the husband’s family home, a large old house on the bleak Yorkshire moors, where his mysterious disabled brother lives in an annexe … it all gets a bit Bronte-esque at this point.

The book jumps backwards and forwards between the two stories, and we learn that Emilie’s new husband is actually a bad lot in more than one way.  All sorts of secrets from both the past and the present emerge.  It’s rather far-fetched, but overall it’s not bad.


The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley


  Rosanna comes from the back streets of Naples.  She doesn’t particularly have a burning desire to shake off her lowly-born tag, but she does have a wonderful voice.  Thanks to opera singer Roberto, she’s able to go to Milan and become a world famous soprano.  Roberto has seduced a very long list of women, including Rosanna’s sister and best friend, and seems to have come straight out of a Jilly Cooper book, but he and Rosanna marry.

Meanwhile, Rosanna’s best friend really loves Rosanna’s brother.  He loves her too, but he wants to become a priest.  A definite touch of The Thorn Birds there.  There’s also a rather odd sub-plot involving some stolen artwork.

It’s all a bit tropey, but it’s a very entertaining read if you’re after something light, and there are some nice descriptions of places.   Not bad at all.