Near the end of World War II, seventeen-year-old Mireille de Jouarre flees the home of her stepfather, a Nazi collaborator and abusive drunk. She finds shelter with her childhood friend Stefan, and the two fall deeply in love. But as the fighting escalates, Mireille must escape alone to Paris, where she discovers she’s pregnant and lacking a way to provide for her child.
So begins her new life as l’Ange—the Angel. After an unlikely meeting with a wealthy aristocrat in a Parisian hotel—and her acceptance of his solicitation—Mireille becomes the most celebrated poule in all of France, eliciting huge fees and invitations to exclusive parties. At one of these events, Mireille meets Oliver Jordan, an American womanizer and film producer, and is soon launching a promising film career. As her star rises, Mireille is determined to bury her past. But her success isn’t as carefree and glittery as it seems, and when her daughter’s future is threatened, Mireille must make a deadly decision in a desperate attempt to finally choose her own path.
Sometimes a book does live up to its cover. Attracted initially by the cover, I enjoyed this immensely. Mireille is a nostalgic tragedy of contrasts where the most beautiful women in the world isn't who she seems. Set mainly in the 50 and 60s and reminiscent of the bestsellers and blockbusters of the nineties it tells the tale of a women who overcomes the tragedies of her youth to find fame and fortune in Hollywood. The lovely cover portrays beautifully the new Mireille hailed the new Garbo.
Mireille is a survivor but again and again her hopes and dreams turn to dust. As each new escape turns into a new prison it becomes increasingly difficult to put this addictive page turner down. Whilst Mireille had her weaknesses it was this fighting spirit which I found so easy to relate to and what I liked about her.
Despite the tragedy it was a lovely relaxing read which I can recommend to all lovers of nostalgia. My only criticism is whilst I loved it I had trouble tying in the first chapter which sets the scene for the rest of the book with what followed. Somehow they didn't match up for me.
(Review copy received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
- Format: Kindle Edition
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (9 Jun. 2015)