Michele Phoenix is a new author to me, and I found out that Tangled Ashes is actually her first widely published novel. Let me tell you this, I'll be proud to be one of her first fans then! I look forward to seeing what she'll write in the future, because this was that good!
Tangled Ashes is actually two stories in one. Rather than centering on one character, the focal point of the book is Lamorlaye, a chateau in rural France. Ms. Phoenix takes the reader back and forth between two story lines at two different points in history. The first takes place during World War II as Lamorlaye, along with all of France is Nazi-occupied, and centers on two young Frenchwomen, Marie and Elise, who work at the chateau to serve the Nazis for the sake of feeding their families. The second story takes place in modern day as an American architect, Beck, is brought over to restore the chateau to its former glory, while confronting some of his own demons along the way.
I really don't want to give any more of the plot lines away, as its so much more fun for the reader to discover them on their own. But, what I will say is that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I actually just picked up the second book Michele Phoenix had published, just because I so enjoyed this one! (I think that's about as clear a recommendation as I can make ;-) ) However, I will give you this one more bit of information: I only picked up this book because I love to read historical fiction, and Ms. Phoenix is so talented that I equally enjoyed both the historical and modern stories. I also loved how the book ended, but I don't want to say at all why, in fear of giving something away. :)
I thought the book was good at catching attention in the prologue. Unfortunately the novel seems somewhat disjointed as it skipped from the present to the past. I did not ever feel that the characters were real. They felt too perfect or too imperfect as to be hard to relate with.
While the overall story was interesting I found the presentation hard to read and the book did not hold my attention. The ending left me unsatisfied.
Architect Marshall Becker is sent to renovate a castle in France, where he meets several interesting people and learns of the castle's history, including Nazi occupation of the area.
I thought this book was okay. The World War II aspect appealed to me, but only part of the story is told in the past. The bulk of the story is told in the present, and I wasn't impressed with the main characters, Becker and Jade. Becker has a lot of faults but doesn't seem to learn much during the book. I felt like I didn't know Jade at all. I was glad to see that the secrets hinted at early in the story were revealed for the most part, however, I thought the ending could have been better.
Marshall Becker "Beck" is an architect with issues. He arrives in France to restore a castle that was used by the Nazi during the war. But he isn't the only one chasing dreams and demons. Someone is destroying the castle at night and he needs to find out who or he will never meet his deadlines.
World War II books, especially those dealing with the cruelty of the Nazi, are often dark and difficult to read. Tangled Ashes was told in two parts. One part told the history of the castle and the other was the modern tale. Telling the story this way seemed to lighten up the book. And I'll be honest I enjoyed the WWII part the most. The characters were more likeable and believable. The main characters in the modern story were Beck and Jade. I thought the author was going for a romance story, but if she was it failed. The ending seemed to explain the puzzles, but didn't conclude. It left the modern day characters with hope for a better future, but based on their parts in the book they probably weren't going to get better. I really enjoyed this book, but I'm not sure I would read a second book based just on the modern characters. I read the book in one evening, so it was fast and enjoyable. But while I enjoyed it, I don't think I loved it.
I received this book free of charge from Handlebar Marketing in exchange for my honest review.
This was a really good book. It kept my attention the whole way through. It has a little mystery in it. This book is really good at addressing addictions also and how it takes time and dedication to really conquer this. I would recommend this book to anyone out there.