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Publisher's Summary

This is the compelling story of two women, born centuries apart, and the ancestral legacy that binds them. Ella Turner tries hard to fit into the small, close-knit community of the French town that she has moved to. She even changes her name back to Tournier, and knocks the rust off her high-school French. However, isolated and lonely, she is drawn to investigate her Tournier ancestry, with heart-wrenching results.

©1997 Tracy Chevalier (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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Needed Google

Without mentioning what year or century the book was set & French not translated to English it is quite a frustrating listen. Perhaps better as a book. The main character is a mess of a woman who never gets herself together. The use of a single narrator with Californian, French & children's voices is annoying to the point I sped up the book to get through it. I seek truth in historical fiction but sadly parts of the story were simply not believable, eg removing a human skeleton, transporting it & reburying it yourself?!? Returned to Audible

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Non French speaker

I think that the Frenchwords should be translated to English to allow better understanding of the book!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Siri-Mette Amble
  • 27-04-2010

A nice enought read

A slightly constructed link between past and present but OK. The narrator abruptly changing her voice was rather tiresome.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Solis
  • 15-04-2010

nothing extraordinary

Being fan of Umberto Eco I expect a lot of historical novels, this one is only entertaining but I kept thinking it would exploit more on some of the subjects, like the historical background or maybe the magical theme or something about reincarnation, so it would not end up too superficial; the narrator's voice changes in some chapters, it sounds like a total different person.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonym
  • 01-04-2010

nice read

nothing spezial but it is a nice read

1 person found this helpful

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  • el'chen
  • 27-08-2014

Performance very uninspiring

Would you try another book written by Tracy Chevalier or narrated by Laurel Lefkow?

I would read more by Tracy Chevalier but never again if narrated by Laurel Lefkow!

If you’ve listened to books by Tracy Chevalier before, how does this one compare?

I preferred some of later titles.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator uses very badly performed ascents for each character. The story is set in France, so why do French people speak with French accents? - Pretentious and unnecessarily and totally annoying.

Why use ascents for characters who are supposed to live in the country that the story is set in? There are far better literary mean of conveying a feel for the country that a story is set then using silly ascents.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Welsh Mafia
  • 01-09-2008

Welcome Ghosts in Tracey's House in the Sun.

This book was a welcome accompaniment to a summer visit to Washington DC, Miami and Orlando - and the book, which verges on aspirant, but at times pedestrian, chick-lit retains much of the flavour of the trip in my mind. High-minded pastiche, nonsensical but expensive fun in the sun and downright unadulterated commercialism, you see where I'm going on this one.
Chevalier's France it seems to me has more to do with a laudatory viewing of the Claude Berri opus taken with a heavy dose of appetent genelogical angst - and screams 'I've found my 'House in the Sun' now just guess who my ancestors turned out to be....Not a classic, but well presented and certainly set to weather the credit crunch.
I read somewhere that Ms Chevalier decided to change her name before moving to Europe. Whilst I vaguely remember it had a more Shanks's Pony ring to it, I can find no record of her original nom before it was de plume'd.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs C A Early
  • 09-04-2021

Another great book from TC

Great story, beautifully read. Parallel stories carefully interwoven. Very much enjoyed this book and the characters.

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  • Esther
  • 10-01-2021

Not as good as the "Girl with a Pearl Earring".

The story was much more convoluted. I could understand that Isabelle was in a bad marriage, though I couldn't see why she started an affair with Étienne, whom she didn't love, in the first place. In Ella's case though I failed to see how she was in a bad marriage. Their marriage had issues, but I wouldn't say it was bad. Jean-Paul is not likeable, Ella is not either and the fact that she is a midwife has no bearing on the story.
One of the biggest problems for me was that people in this novel don't have a normal human reaction or emotion.

SPOILERS:

When Sylvie finds the bones in Ella's bag and she freaks out her mom makes her apologise to Ella for going through Ella's bags. I don't have kids but my reaction would have been "Jeses Christ, why do you have human bones in your bag?! Excuse me, but I will call the police. Also, thanks for traumatising my daughter."
I have the feeling that Ella did a lot of illegal stuff in the novel: taking the Bible from the archives (as her husband points out, this a historical document, you cannot take it from an archive willy-nilly), breaking into the the farmhouse (" No, we are not breaking in... We are just going there... At night. To take something... That does not belong to me." Sure, Ella), grave robbery...
She assumes those bones are Marie's but she could have been easily mistaken.
I mean, she finds the bones of a kid... and she does not call the police. Yeah, the bones were centuries old, but how can she tell? At first glance. In the middle of the night, using just a flashlight. Is she a palaeontologist or a midwife?
I was also annoyed by the fact that every time she finds a Tournier she immediately assumes they are related. Is Tournier/Turner a really uncommon last name?
I liked some parts of the novel, but Ella is so frustratingly stupid and weirdly enough the majority of the characters take her side.
Another thing that the book hints at but never makes clear is that Jean-Paul is maybe the descendant of the shepherd that Isabelle had an "affair" with that lasted a full 30 seconds and so Ella and Jean-Paul were drawn together by fate. If so, then I hope Rick is not supposed to be a parallel to Étienne, because Étienne was a major bastard who murdered his own daughter. Rick was a bit inconsiderate... Maybe.

The book is not all bad, parts of it were really captivating but the parts that were (from my point of view) not well written really did stand out. But from what I understand this book was Chevalier's first novel, so it is not surprising that it has flaws.

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  • Jane Hodgson
  • 23-11-2020

Chevalier magic, beautifully read.

Third time of reading this haunting story ... beautifully read. The story of La Rousse needs to be told and this is a lovely telling.

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  • Lesley Warren
  • 09-09-2020

well written

well written and researched . great family history traced back over centuries. really enjoyable to listen to.

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  • Steph O'Halleran
  • 31-05-2019

Great story but very irritating narration

I loved this book. It's impossible to stop listening to. I didn't like the reader though and the stupid accents were irritating.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-01-2019

Favourite book.

I have read this book twice in hardback so when I saw this on Audible I had to get it. It is so well read and it's like being in a play every character sounds so different. What does that other reviewer mean 'performance is uninspiring'! were we even listening to the same story? I just closed my eyes and I was there, even my husband loved it. Don't be put off people you will love it.

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  • MS REBECCA WARREN
  • 05-09-2016

Not a good book

I have read/listened to all Tracy Chevaliers book and all but this novel have been superb. This one is awful the story is not good and made worse by the most dreadful characters imaginable. Ella is the most ridiculous pathetic woman with no substance what so ever. Ms Chevalier is usually able to give an unpleasant character some substance as part of an unfolding story but Emma was just a boring fool who needs to get a grip.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-07-2016

A good read.

A good book with a solid story but not the authors usual high standed. I also think and as much as i like the narators voice. She should have left the french accent alone. All this being said, it is worth your time and credit.

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