Book Reviews

Sepulchre by Kate Mosse

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List Price: £10.99


Paperback: 560 Pages.

Published: 06 March 2008 by Orion

Edition: Reprint

ISBN: 0752882945

EAN: 9780752882949

1891. Seventeen-year-old Leonie Vernier and her brother abandon Paris for the sanctuary of their aunt's isolated country house near Carcassonne, the Domaine de la Cade. But in the nearby woods, Leonie stumbles across a ruined sepulchre - and a timeless mystery whose traces are written in blood. 2007. Meredith Martin arrives at the Domaine de la Cade as part of her research for a biography she's writing. But Meredith is also seeking the key to her own complex legacy and soon becomes immersed in the story of a tragic love, a missing girl, a unique deck of tarot cards, an unquiet soul and the strange events of one cataclysmic night more than a century ago...


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Great Historical Research but Slow

Sepulchre is one of those historical novels where 2 time periods run in parallel & the past leaks into the present.

Set in modern & 1890s France, the action is centred around La Domaine de Cade. In the 1890s this is a family house & we follow the story of the Lascombe & Vernier families. In modern times it is a hotel where we follow the story of Meredith Martin who is writing a biography of Debussy & also following hints to her own background. In the 1890s we follow Leonie & Anatole Vernier & a web of deceit with more than a hint of the supernatural.

A few of the characters from the author's previous book, Labyrinth, make an appearance but it is not necesary to read Labyrinth prior to this one.

My over riding impression of this book is how slow it was. It started off quite slowly & I really struggled to get into it. It is quite a lengthy book & I really wondered if I should give up at some point. Although it did pick up slightly, it never got beyond a slow wander. Even the great climax at the end did grip me with excitement or expectation.

The research behind this book is obviously extensive. This did appeal to me & I suspect that was what kept my interest to the end. I enjoyed the social descriptions of life in the 1890s as well as windows into the world of syphilis & the Tarot. Definitely a varied book!

I didn't really manage to get involved with the characters in this story. Many of those in the 1890s aren't particularly likeable. Leonie begins as a sill, empty-headed child who behaves rashly though she does grow up significantly when needed to before the end. Anatole, her brother is a ghastly man. He doesn't seem to mind who he hurts or what conventions he breaks in order to get his own way.  Meredith, in modern times, is likeable enough but slightly stereotypical & bland. I really didn't get involved with her emotion as she searched for her past family. In fact, she was really quite emotionless I felt.

I don't feel that this book was up to the standard of other books I have read by this author. She just didn't manage to instill in me a desire to be involved with the characters or bothered as to what happened to them. It wasn't the storyline that kept me interested in this book but rather the interesting historical insights.

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