2013 Book Reviews

The Girl Behind The Fan by Stella Knightley

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Hurt and confused by the sudden end of her strange love affair with Venetian millionaire Marco Donato, Sarah Thomson takes her bruised heart to Paris, where she tries to forget her yearning for Marco by throwing herself into a new project: a study of the life of notorious nineteenth-century courtesan, Augustine Levert, whose sensual charms parted many a man from his fortune.

It is while she is France that Sarah meets her ex-boyfriend Steven, who is hoping for a reconciliation. They rekindle their psychologically and sexually tortured relationship, but when her life begins to parallel Augustine’s story, Sarah realises her heart will never erase Marco from her heart.

Faces with a choice between safety and overwhelming passion, will both women make the right decision?

Again I would firstly like to thank Emillie at Hodder for sending me this book.

Yet again I fear I will not succeed in expressing how much I’ve adored this book. Often in a series of books there is a weak link, that is most certainly not the case here.

After finishing The Girl Behind The Mask I literally waited less than a second to dive straight into this one. You can read my review of the first one here.

In The Girl Behind The Fan, we of course have two different girls stories, who both are experiencing the same passion and desperation of wanting to be with their loved one so much.

For Sarah, after being shunned by Marco and still having never met him face to face she should be over what never was, but of course she isn’t. In her heart she knows that what they shared was mutual. After not speaking for months Sarah finds her research bringing her back to the library of Marco Donato. Marco of course grants her permission to use the library and Sarah is ever hopeful that he will now meet her and stop denying his feelings for her. Only now Marco is denying that it was anything but friendship.

But after discovering some of Marco’s secrets Sarah realises that Marco does have feelings for her but is he so determined to lie about it. Why?

As for Augustine’s love story, after both her parents dying she is left alone. Found on the side of the road in the freezing cold by a Courtesan, Arlette takes pity on her and takes her on as a maid. It’s in Arlette’s home that she discovers how Arlette is her own woman and how as is surrounded by such wealth. She is a prostitute. Whilst Arlette is entertaining her gentlemen callers Augustine meets painter Remi. They are both utterly smitten and are soon declaring their love for one another. Remi paints an unflattering picture of Arlette to which she kicks him out of her home. Augustine is made to choose between the woman who saved her or the man she is so fiercely in love with, she chooses Remi.

Augustine and Remi are living in extreme poverty now and there relationship is tense, although not for Augustine because she would live on the street if it meant she and Remi where still together. Remi so bitterly cold and unable to paint any longer, decides to go and fall upon his fathers mercy and hope to be welcomed back. He promises to clear the air and then come back for Augustine, promising that he will convince his father that she will be his wife. Waiting for his arrival she receives a letter explaining he won’t be coming back for her as she will only bring shame on his family. Augustine is just heartbroken.

Augustine finds herself back with Arlette and soon becoming a courtesan herself, falling into the arms of a dreadful man who uses her in an appalling way then showers her with gifts I’m return. One of those gifts is to be painted. That painter is Remi, and so they come face to face again.

I’m leaving it there because I’m going to keep blabbing on otherwise.

This book was just as captivating and engrossing as the first book. It left me speechless and desperate to start the final book.

I adored how Sarah and Marco’s relationship progressed, although he is trying his hardest to stop anything happening, Sarah is so completely in love with him she is determined not to give up. I found myself fiercely hoping that they would somehow finally be together. To be so in love with someone you have never met just absolutely pulls at your heart strings and leaves you hoping for a fairy tale ending.

As for Augustine and Remi, oh my, my heart broke. They were crazy for each other and so in love. I won’t tell you anything but it was SO romantic.

This book was compelling, utterly romantic, tragic, brilliantly interesting, classy and yet again unputdownable.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I adore books that take you back into the past and has the ability to tell two stories, well. Each story is gripping and it’s so beautifully written you find yourself lost within its pages.

To get a paperback version you can click here and for the kindle version click here

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