The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

An island of secrets. A runaway. And a promise…

A rebellious daughter
1925. Among the ancient honey-coloured walls of the tiny island of Malta, strangers slip into the shadows and anyone can buy a new name. Rosalie Delacroix flees Paris for a dancer’s job in the bohemian clubs deep in its winding streets.

A sister with a secret
1944. Running from the brutality of war in France, Florence Baudin faces a new life. But her estranged mother makes a desperate request: to find her vanished sister, who went missing years before.

A rift over generations
Betrayals and secrets, lies and silence hang between the sisters. A faded last letter from Rosalie is Florence’s only clue, the war an immovable barrier – and time is running out…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I hadn’t realised when I started this book that it was the second part of a trilogy but I had no problem reading it as a standalone novel. There are references to earlier events but very few of them were relevant to the storyline.

Two separate timelines in three different countries. France in the 1920s, Britain in the 1940s and Malta covering both periods. It was the Maltese storyline that captivated me, I have visited both Valletta and Mdina and could identify many of the places mentioned. But it wasn’t just being familiar with the location it was Rosalie’s story. Her excitement at doing what she loved, the people she met and her guilt and regret at the way she left her family and homeland.

Florence was similar in many ways. Living in Devon, separated from her sisters and a difficult relationship with her mother, Rosalie’s sister. It did take me slightly longer to get to know her, maybe because of the novel I hadn’t read. But as she settled into her new life in Devon and decided to try and find Rosalie I enjoyed her storyline more.

This was a novel that showed the hardship experienced by many towards the latter end of WW2. The fear of bombing was one I had read before, the fear of running out of food wasn’t. The excitement when the war was over but being able to see how difficult it still was after with regards to travel and rebuilding lives. The entertainment offered, some of it innocent, some a little more dubious. It all felt real. 

This was the first book I had read by this author, I will definitely read more.

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