300 Days of Sun: A Novelby Deborah Lawrenson
Combining the atmosphere of Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins with the intriguing historical backstory of Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, Deborah Lawrenson’s mesmerizing novel transports readers to a sunny Portuguese town with a shadowy past—where two women, decades apart, are drawn into a dark game of truth and lies that still/b>/b>
Combining the atmosphere of Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins with the intriguing historical backstory of Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train, Deborah Lawrenson’s mesmerizing novel transports readers to a sunny Portuguese town with a shadowy past—where two women, decades apart, are drawn into a dark game of truth and lies that still haunts the shifting sea marshes.
Traveling to Faro, Portugal, journalist Joanna Millard hopes to escape an unsatisfying relationship and a stalled career. Faro is an enchanting town, and the seaside views are enhanced by the company of Nathan Emberlin, a charismatic younger man. But behind the crumbling facades of Moorish buildings, Joanna soon realizes, Faro has a seedy underbelly, its economy compromised by corruption and wartime spoils. And Nathan has an ulterior motive for seeking her company: he is determined to discover the truth involving a child’s kidnapping that may have taken place on this dramatic coastline over two decades ago.
Joanna’s subsequent search leads her to Ian Rylands, an English expat who cryptically insists she will find answers in The Alliance, a novel written by American Esta Hartford. The book recounts an American couple’s experience in Portugal during World War II, and their entanglements both personal and professional with their German enemies. Only Rylands insists the book isn’t fiction, and as Joanna reads deeper into The Alliance, she begins to suspect that Esta Hartford’s story and Nathan Emberlin’s may indeed converge in Faro—where the past not only casts a long shadow but still exerts a very present danger.
British journalist Joanna Millard has come to Faro in the Algarve region of southern Portugal to escape an annoying boyfriend. There, she meets engaging Nathan Emberlin, who asks for help in finding a man who traffics in children. Nathan has just learned that he was adopted and might have been abducted in Portugal. Joanna's research leads to Ian Rylands, a retired British civil servant with ties to the intelligence community. Rylands tells Joanna to read Esta Hartford's 1954 novel, The Alliance, a true story, he claims, with names changed. Presented in excerpts, the novel describes the flight of an American couple from Paris to Lisbon during the early years of World War II and the later kidnapping of their son, who was returned, and then a nephew, their daughter's two-year-old boy, never seen again. Was Nathan that child? VERDICT As in The Lantern and The Sea Garden, Lawrenson merges past and present, doubling identities and events to dazzling (and sometimes dizzying) effect. Set against the lush but corrupt coastal resorts of southern Portugal, the novel's shadowy deeds seem only more dangerous in this sunny clime. While not as intense as Robert Wilson's Portuguese thrillers, this novel is sure to please those who relish the untangling of crimes in exotic locales.—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
- HarperCollins Publishers
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Meet the Author
Deborah Lawrenson studied English at Cambridge University and worked as a journalist in London. She is married with a daughter, and lives in Kent, England. Deborah’s previous novels include The Lantern and The Sea Garden.
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He flew in.
The history and some of the descriptions in this novel were interesting. Kind of boring though, did not really like the characters and did not have much feeling for them. Abrupt and non conclusive ending.
A child is frolicking on the sand. And, then he's not. Disappeared. There are rumors - it's happened before amid the stifling heat and beauty of this tranquil Portuguese coastline. Lawrenson is a master at setting a scene, and I was quickly absorbed in this story of conspiracy, murder, love, and the search for truth. I especially loved the characters of Joanna and Alva, two distinctly different women living seven decades apart. One knows her mind and will do whatever it takes to uncover the fate of a missing child – even putting her own life in danger, while the other has to discover who she really is and what she is capable of doing amid a world at war and a culture that does not foster female independence. 300 Days of Sun is a great combination of beautiful writing, a tense plot, and characters that make you care. I definitely recommend it.