Thursday, December 15, 2016

The People in the Photo

Hélène Gestern
Translated by Emily Boyce and Ros Schwartz
Gallic Books, 2014; 273 pages
First published 2011

Publisher's Blurb:
The chance discovery of a newspaper image from 1971 sets two people on the path to learning the disturbing truth about their parents' pasts. 
My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story of a woman's search for the history of the mother she never really knew.

Parisian archivist Hélène finds an old photo of her mother (who died when Hélène was three) and two unidentified men, taken at a tennis match in 1971. She takes out a newspaper ad seeking information, and attracts the attention of Stéphane, a Swiss biologist living in Kent, who believes his father is one of the men in the photo. They exchange letters, phone calls and email, and a relationship develops as they set out on a journey to uncover the story they believe their parents were hiding from them. There are setbacks, false leads and misunderstanding along the way, but eventually their dual quest builds to a very satisfying conclusion.

This was Gestern's first novel, originally published in 2011. It's a fast, engrossing read that definitely deserves the "page-turner" label.

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(Full Disclosure: This review refers to an advance readers copy of the book received free of charge from the publisher, through the NetGalley website. No other compensation was received, and no one attempted to influence my opinion.)

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● Qualifies for the following reading challenge: Books in Translation Challenge; European Challenge2016 NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge; Women Challenge; Women's Fiction Challenge.

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