A beautiful book indeed. I could literally smell the french lavender as I read. Enticing from the beginning you are transported into the lives of two people as they arrive in France and then sadly have to leave many years later. Its an emotional read. I won't spoil the emotional parts. But there is an awful lot of subtext beneath the words, one story describes the cutting down of trees by a French neighbour, the destruction of a sandcastle meaning the fort, the castle we all build around us which is slowly deconstructing with age, the loneliness of sitting up a bar in Paris watching, the continuation knowing that an ending is happening, the British stiff upper lip never cracking, and then at the end perhaps hope.
Mark has a unique way of treating his reader. You are falsely trapped into a world of loveliness and then, bang, amber light, the deconstruction begins. A beautiful book indeed.