My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I fell in love with The Secrets of Bastide Blanche the minute I read the first page. Beautiful, intriguing, captivating – these three words just begin to describe how I felt about this novel. The writing, the setting, and the storyline were all beautiful.
The novel begins with le famous but retired author Valere Barbier, who decides to write an autobiography and pitches the story to his new publisher. A few months prior, Monsieur Barbier buys La Bastide Blanche, a big but extremely old and antique house in a quiet Aix en Provence, not too far from Paris. As Valere settles in, he learns a little secret about le grande house – it’s hunted. With a help of his new and bubbly employee Sandrine, he tries to cleanse the house. While the hunted mansion occupies Valere’s time, the news of le famous author is spread around the little village, and Valere starts to make new acquaintances faster than he expects.
One of Valere’s new friends are college professor Marine Bonnet and a judge Antoine Verlaque. Out of the blue, Verlaque is contacted by an old and retired friend who once worked on a missing case of Agatha Barbier. As we learn, over twenty years prior, monsieur Barbier’s wife has gone overboard during their summer vacation. Her body was never recovered, therefore the case was never closed. And now the files are in Verlaque’s hands for a second look. Marine, who is also a huge fan of Agatha and Valere, cant pass on a chance to learn the truth about what has happened that one unfortunate night on the boat.
While Marine and Antoine are analyzing the history of Barbier family, many interesting events are happening at the Bastide Blanche: many new visitors, kidnapping, blackmail. This thrilling novel keeps the reader on their toes from the first till the last pages.
The Secrets of Bastide Blanche is a fascinating, well-written, richly described story about new and old friendships, loyalty, secrets, life, loss, and love. Marvelous ending with quite compelling twists that I didn’t expect. Marvelous and full of live characters with fantastic personalities. I didn’t realize this book is a part of the Verlaque and Bonnet mystery series, now I can’t wait to read all the previous books! Thank you Penguin Books and M.L.Longworth for sending me this advance copy of the novel. I highly recommend this book to any francophiles and mystery lovers.