The Secret of the Chateau – Kathleen McGurl
1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.
Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley who gave me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this dual time frame story set at the time of the French Revolution and in the current day.
I loved the idea of leaving behind a hum-drum life in England and taking early retirement to purchase a gloriously romantic French chateau with a group of well-loved friends. This life-changing move to a new life in another country happened suspiciously smoothly but, for Lu, ripples of disquiet lay beneath the surface of her outwardly calm face. Until recently, she’d cared for her mother until her death and then her fifty-something husband had a heart attack, leaving her again in the self-appointed role of carer. As Phil recovers and takes up gardening and Steve, Manda and Grey all find new interests, Lu feels unfulfilled. It appears though that the chateau has a resident ghost and Lu decides to investigate the stories of the chateau’s previous owners.
The parallel stories of aristocrats Pierre and Catherine Aubert living at Versailles and the Chateau Aubert during the time of the Terror, contrasts well with the contemporary concerns of the five friends as they settle into their new home and find ways to become a part of the community.
The Secret of the Chateau is a feel-good story that kept me turning the pages right to the end.