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Translated by Alison Anderson
Paris, 1975. Sifting through the letters of condolence after her mother’s death, Camille discovers a strange missive sent by someone she does not know. She thinks it is probably an error. But then, every Tuesday, a new letter arrives, recounting a tale of two impossible loves, four broken destinies, until the final dénouement destroys everything in its inevitable path. Little by little, Camille begins to piece together the puzzle and is shocked to realise that this story has a direct bearing upon her own life.
Alternating Camille’s story and the mysterious letters from the unknown correspondent, Grémillon transports us to the years between 1939 and 1943, a fascinating time in French history, to tell a powerful story of friendship and secrets between women, of surrogacy, passionate love, jealousy, revenge and reconciliation.
The Confidant is a thrilling debut novel that blends a historical setting and page-turning psychological suspense with a virtuoso literary style. Along with its success in France, translation rights have been sold in 18 territories.
‘A complex plot, crystalline writing—Hélène Grémillon’s talent explodes in this first novel, as much in her historical precision as in the suspense that lasts until the final paragraph.’
‘A novel about the complicity between history with a small “h” — the characters’ stories—and History with a capital “H”. As in Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, nothing is more moving than to witness characters as castaways shipwrecked by History.’
‘Hélène Grémillon takes us into the heart of a family secret: unspoken love, hidden hatred and revenge with dire consequences. A novel written in two time frames, with two voices, which rewards us twice over, by going straight to the heart.’
‘A riveting story, that is both thriller and historical tale…This first-time novelist has produced a highly mature text, that displays an extraordinary mastery of narrative, and a feel for suspense that is worthy of the best films. And above all, her characters are endowed with psychological depth.’
‘Step back in time in this intriguing French mystery…Grémillon expertly builds the psychological suspense.’
‘Grémillon’s debut novel, set against the backdrop of WWII Paris, cleverly weaves two stories together to create a truly compelling read.’
‘This suspenseful page-turner, set in and around Paris between 1939 and 1975, mixes romance, revenge and French history with aplomb.’
‘Elegantly translated by Alison Anderson into an English that does justice to Grémillon’s spare, sophisticated prose, this is another successful exploration of love, war and identity.’