|Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie|
The story begins in Brittany in 1928 when the Graham family spend a summer holiday at the Hotel Brittanique in St Malo. Jack Graham and his younger brother Francis, almost against their better judgement, make the acquaintance of three other young boys, Otto Finkel, Jean-Luc Descartes and Marco Roncalli, who are all staying at the hotel for reasons of their own. Their collective involvement in a significant incident which leaves a man dead and one of the boys disfigured will have repercussions for many years to come.
The story then moves forwards in time to the momentous years of the Second World War and sees the boys, now grown to adulthood, take their respective places in the theatre of war, each of them fighting for a cause they believe to be true. However, the vagaries of fate have a habit of intervening and soon the shadows of the past start to creep into the here and now.
The Absolution of Otto Finkel is a thought provoking story with a real sense of time and place. Historical detail is accurate and well informed and it is obvious that the author has researched this subject thoroughly. The shadow of the Second World War which features so heavily throughout the novel is done with a fine eye for detail and with an obvious enthusiasm for the subject. The characters are well defined and I particularly enjoyed seeing how all their stories came together. As with any historical novel set during WW2, there are always going to be difficult scenarios to encounter, but the author does a commendable job of reconstructing this fictional story without ever compromising on the truth of what actually happened during this troubled period in world history.
I found the book interesting to read and I look forward to seeing more historical fiction from this talented writer.
Best Read With.... The comforting taste of warm, buttery croissants and the heady aroma of a rich café crème...
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I am especially grateful to the author for sharing The Absolution of Otto Finkel with me.