The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Paperback
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A beautifully controlled and powerful story of love and conscience, will and desire which begins when a mysterious young girl arrives to take up the post at the seedy Hotel du Lion D'Or in a small French town in the mid-1930s.




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Review by

A beautifully written love story set in the small town of Jainvilliers in 1935-36 against a background of political upheaval as M Blum's government stumbles from crisis to crisis while Hitler's Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.The principal characters are Anne, a beautiful young woman fleeing a tragic past and Charles Hartmann, a successful and married advocate and landowner. The novel opens with Anne arriving by train from Paris to take up a position as waitress at the Lion d'Or Inn in Jainvilliers. The bizarre and menacing concierge, Mme Bouin, tersely welcomes her and issues an extensive list of house rules and duties, and Anne is pitched in at the deep end.She meets Charles Hartmann early on and is almost immediately besotted. He reciprocates her feelings, though perhaps less suddenly, and their tentative relationship commences.Faulks captures the barrenness of a Anne's day to day routine marvellously, making the reader feel the tedium of her daily chores and the long periods of boredom attendant upon waiting tables in a small provincial inn. Hartmann takes her away from that, but only for brief periods - after all, he is married and anxious to avoid scandal within a small town.However, Anne does come to trust Hartmann and reveals dreadful secrets from her past.A thoroughly engrossing and engaging novel.

Review by

This is a lovely little novel. It's a love story with a basic Cinderella set-up, starring Mme Bouin as the evil step-mother and the Patron as the Fairy Godmother. Very simply and intelligently told with little flourishes and cross-correspondences of meaning. I particularly enjoyed the metaphor of the cellar being built with what is happening to Anne.

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