Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks
A Novel

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Synopsis

Faulks's first novel since the extraordinary success of Birdsong is written with the same passion, power and breadth of vision. Set in England and France during the darkest days of World War II, Charlotte Gray, like Birdsong, depicts a complex love affair that is both shaped and thwarted by war.
        
It is 1942. London is blacked out, but France is under a greater darkness, as the occupying Nazi forces encroach ever closer in a tense waiting game. Charlotte Gray, a volatile but determined young woman, travels south from Edinburgh. Working in London, she has a brief but intense love affair with an RAF pilot. When his plane is lost over France, she contrives to go there herself to work in the Resistance and to search for him--but then is unwilling to leave as she finds that the struggle for the country's fate is intimately linked to her own battle to take control of her life.
        
Faulks's novel is an examination of lost paradises, politics without belief, the limits of memory, the redemptive power of art and the existence of hope beyond reason. It is also a brilliant evocation of life in Occupied France and, more significantly, a revelation of the appalling price many Frenchmen paid to survive in unoccupied, so-called Free France. As the men, women and children of Charlotte's small town prepare to meet their terrible destiny, the truth of what took place in wartime France is finally exposed.
        
When private lives and public events fatally collide, the roots of the characters' lives are torn up and exposed. These harrowing scenes are presented with the passion and narrative force that readers will recall from Birdsong. Charlotte Gray will attract even more readers to Faulks's remarkable fiction.
 

About Sebastian Faulks

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Sebastian Faulks is best known for his trilogy of novels set in France: The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong, and Charlotte Gray, the latter two of which were bestsellers. After a period in France, he and his family now live in London.
 
Published February 2, 1999 by Random House. 399 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction, Romance, Professional & Technical. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Even though (before she's parachuted into the village of Lavourette) Charlotte has fallen passionately in love with war-wearied RAF pilot Peter Gregory (who, not long after, ""goes missing""), and even though her also-intense love of France is muddied by a badly impacted father-complex (her aloof...

Feb 01 1999 | Read Full Review of Charlotte Gray: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Readers of the bestseller Birdsong may hope that Faulks's third novel will furnish another mesmerizing narrative with a piercing love story and the kinds of details that vitalized his descriptions of life in the trenches during WWII.

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Entertainment Weekly

Faulks' 1996 British best-seller, Birdsong, conveyed the slogging horrors of trench warfare in France in 1916 and wrung epic pathos from a myriad of housekeeping details — a tour de force not matched, alas, by this ambitious sequel, set in 1942.

Mar 05 1999 | Read Full Review of Charlotte Gray: A Novel

Defense Media Network

She became the most decorated servicewoman of World War II, receiving the George Medal, three French Croix de Guerre, the Légion d’Honneur, the French Resistance Medal, the Companion of the Order of Australia, and the United States’ Medal of Freedom, among other decorations.

Feb 06 2013 | Read Full Review of Charlotte Gray: A Novel

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