Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021 Cover design Lisa White
Stephanie Parkyn has chosen the failing years of the Napoleonic Empire as the period for this historical fiction, a sweeping tale of cultural theft, love and betrayal, abandonment and refuge.
The story follows the fortunes of storytellers Rémi and Pascal, whom we first meet as orphans working in the comedia dell’arte theatre of Gianni. They are soon joined by Saskia, a Russian travelling circus performer who had been kidnapped and mistreated by a mysterious religious Father.
I became an immediate fan of Tess Lunney’s work with her first novel April in Paris 1921 where we met heroine, glamorous spy Kiki Button. Tessa nails it again with this thrilling breathless sequel, a tale of espionage, power and politics in 1922 Paris.
This exquisite study of how we hold and resolve pain and loss is Lawrence McMahon’s first novel. Traversing themes of violence against women, the role of the missionary, religious practices, hierarchical structures in our society macro and micro – hence power plays between individuals and groups, medical ethics and our universal need for a place we call home, the novel is beautifully written and thoroughly absorbing in its content.