on Tour December 14- 23 with
Release date: November 14, 2015 at Liza Perrat
1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint. Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France. Fearful that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honor the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.
Midwife Héloïse has been an outcast since she was a child. She is called a non-born. Her mother died while giving birth to her and her aunt Isa had to cut her out of the womb. The local children teased her about that, and as an adult have the taunting children grown up to taunting adults. But she has always been strong in herself, and she has a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. Life couldn't be better. But then her husband arrives home after being away for two years and this should be a young full event, but then people are starting to get sick and die. The Black Death has come to their village.
There were a couple of times I had to stop reading this book and read something else, not that it was anything wrong with the book. But because I was so frustrated with the superstition that that characterized the people at the time. How the fear made the people accuse, cats, lepers, and Jews for the plague. Héloïse tries to help everyone that is sick, despite her husband being against that. And, he, in the end, tries in his own way to protect her, but that backfires completely. I was so angry with him at that point. It's hard to read a book about a time when women weren't better than a kept slave.
Héloïse is such a wonderful character, strong and kind, but the superstition against her and the bone-sculpted angel pendant she has after her mother is strong among the people in the village. There are some that sees her for the kind person she is, but she has some enemies with power in the town. And, a deadly plague is the kind of thing that could make her situation worse. Especially since she is quite outspoken and brave. A threat, for instance, could easy be interpreted as a curse...
But for all the darkness in this book are there also light moments, and I think the balance between the darkness and the light is the thing that makes this book so wonderful to read. It's an emotional reading experience. Sadness at the death of a child, joy of a birth and anger at the injustice towards women. I was deeply moved by the story.
Liza Perrat grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist. Since completing a creative writing course twelve years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France. Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in her French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel Series. The second – Wolfsangel – was published in October, 2013, and the third, Blood Rose Angel, is published in November, 2015. She is a founding member of the author collective, Triskele Books and reviews books for BookMuse.