‘The Violins Of Saint Jacques’

The Violins Of Saint JacquesThe Violins Of Saint Jacques by Patrick Leigh Fermor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To his fans, recommended.

It is the story of a woman who goes to the Caribbean to be governess or whatever for a wealthy French aristocrat, and basically what happens is the oldest daughter of the family runs away to marry the son of a government official, who for political (and other) reasons the aristocrat/father finds detestable. Pretty mundane stuff, except for the extraordinary climax of the book, which is itself preceded by a dramatic chase: the governess, the oldest son (who is in love with her, by the way) and the butler all go off in different directions to find the daughter. I do not think it is a spoiler to say that, no way, will you see the ending coming. (Oo-o-of.)

It is a little bit of a stretch, literarily speaking, as Fermor tells most of the story through the eyes of an elderly French woman. But you will forgive the occasionally stilted moments, because all the familiar Fermor is here: magnificent character sketches, seductive scenery, alluring history and all of it told with the usual, weighty wit and charm.

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