The Confidant: A Novel
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The Confidant: A Novel

4.6 5
by Helene Gremillon
     
 

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"A gripping first novel" (Le Figaro Littéraire) and an award-winning international sensation as haunting and unforgettable as Suite Française

Paris, 1975. Camille sifts through letters of condolence after her mother's death when a strange, handwritten missive stops her short. At first she believes she received it by mistake. But

Overview

"A gripping first novel" (Le Figaro Littéraire) and an award-winning international sensation as haunting and unforgettable as Suite Française

Paris, 1975. Camille sifts through letters of condolence after her mother's death when a strange, handwritten missive stops her short. At first she believes she received it by mistake. But then, a new letter arrives each week from a mysterious stranger, Louis, who seems intent on recounting the story of his first love, Annie. They were separated in the years before World War II when Annie befriended a wealthy, barren couple and fell victim to a merciless plot just as German troops arrive in Paris. But also awaiting Camille's discovery is the other side of the story, which will call into question Annie's innocence and reveal the devastating consequences of jealousy and revenge. As Camille reads on, she begins to realize that her own life may be the next chapter in this tragic story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in Paris in 1975, Gremillon’s absorbing debut begins when Camille Werner receives a long, unsigned, handwritten letter among the condolence notes after her mother’s death. Already in a state of shock, both from the unexpected death and from breaking up with her boyfriend after his casual mention of not wanting children when Camille told him she was pregnant, Camille becomes fascinated with the correspondent’s tale of a budding romance between two teenage friends, Annie and Louis, in a small town on the cusp of WWII. Camille becomes convinced that it is this Louis who wrote to her, though she assumes her receipt of the missives is a mistake. In subsequent letters (which are differentiated from Camille’s narrative by the use of fonts), Louis spins his tale of a love that became doomed when Annie was befriended by a young, wealthy, and unhappy Parisian couple. As a book editor, Camille wonders if Louis (who never signs the letters) is trying to wangle a publishing contract. But when he reveals that Annie has a daughter born around the time of Camille’s own birth, Camille becomes obsessed with locating Louis and getting the whole story behind his letters. Finely written, unabashedly romantic, and full of twists, this novel will grip readers until the end. Agent: Rebecca Byers, Plon-Perrin Presses de la Renaissance. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
The Confidant  is an impressive blend of historical precision, high suspense and sharp-sighted psychological truths. A gorgeous, captivating novel with brilliant storytelling. It’s a novel that will stay with me.”   — Amanda Hodgkinson, New York Times bestselling author of 22 Britannia Road

“Captivating and haunting, the passion and heartache absolutely leap off the page in Hélène Grémillon’s The Confidant . The first thing you’ll want to do after finishing, is to flip to the first chapter and start reading it all over again, combing for overlooked clues.”   — Sarah Jio, author of Blackberry Winter and The Violets of March

“Succumb to a very French story and allow yourself to be seduced by Hélène Grémillon’s serpentine tale of wartime passion and revenge. As the past intensifies its grip on a young woman’s present, shifting perspectives exert an irresistible pull. Direct, unsettling and atmospheric.”  — Deborah Lawrenson, author of The Lantern

“Helene Gremillon tells her heartrending tale of human frailty, cruelty and love in prose of subtle elegance, and her flawed, fascinating characters stayed with me long after I’d finished the book. This is poised and beautiful storytelling.”  — Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife

The Confidant  is a must read for anyone who loves intrigue. It will keep you guessing until the very last page - beautifully written, original and thoroughly engaging.”   — Sandra Smith, translator of Suite Française

“A beautiful, intricate book, The Confidant is held together with delicate threads and secrets. I scarcely know how to review it without inadvertently giving one away. It’s a story of enduring emotions—love, jealousy, revenge—and the lengths that we will go to in their name. A love story, a thriller, a war novel, The Confidant is hard to put down. And, when you do, you’ll want to flip back to the beginning and read again to see what clues you may have missed the first time. This gripping little story with its flawed, yet memorable characters is highly recommended.” An Editor's Choice pick, February 2013
Historical Novels Review

"Hélène Grémillon takes us to the heart of a family secret. We witness undeclared love, hidden hatreds, and revenge with terrible consequences. She writes of two periods in time in two voices. And we are twice as caught up in this book which truly touches our hearts." — ELLE (France)

"The reader is literally riveted to this story, both thriller and historical account. The text has accents of maturity, a stunning mastery of narration, a sense of suspense worthy of a top-notch film. A gripping first novel."  — Le Figaro Litteraire

"Hélène Grémillon: remember this name! Scrupulously written, with fine and harmonious phrasing that renders the heroines' voices perfectly." — Le Point

"Hélène Grémillon's talent bursts forth in this first novel, as much for the style as the historical details and the suspense that persists up to the very last paragraph. As for the main characters... they are all complex, unpredictable and above all charismatic." — Le Nouvel Observateur

“This most assured first novel is structured like a series of matryoshka dolls; as we start reading, stories within stories are revealed until we are finally faced with the gem at the centre. Grémillon’s conclusion to what is both mystery story and romance is an absolute crackerjack.”  — The Saturday Age (Australia)

“Sensitively written, it is a suspenseful, absorbing tale about the power of history and how it plays on the present.”   — Herald on Sunday (Australia)

“A truly compelling read.”   — Grazia (Australia)

“A novel about the complicity between history with a small ‘h’ — the characters’ stories—and History with a capital ‘H.’  As in Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, nothing is more moving than to witness characters as castaways shipwrecked by History.”   — BSC News (France)

“Step back in time with this intriguing French mystery... Grémillon expertly builds the psychological suspense.”   — Courier Mail (Australia)

“The cinematic rhythm is thrilling. A triumph.”   — Paris Match Belgium (France)

ELLE (France)
"Hélène Grémillon takes us to the heart of a family secret. We witness undeclared love, hidden hatreds, and revenge with terrible consequences. She writes of two periods in time in two voices. And we are twice as caught up in this book which truly touches our hearts."
Amanda Hodgkinson
The Confidant is an impressive blend of historical precision, high suspense and sharp-sighted psychological truths. A gorgeous, captivating novel with brilliant storytelling. It’s a novel that will stay with me.”
Sarah Jio
“Captivating and haunting, the passion and heartache absolutely leap off the page in Hélène Grémillon’s The Confidant . The first thing you’ll want to do after finishing, is to flip to the first chapter and start reading it all over again, combing for overlooked clues.”
Deborah Lawrenson
“Succumb to a very French story and allow yourself to be seduced by Hélène Grémillon’s serpentine tale of wartime passion and revenge. As the past intensifies its grip on a young woman’s present, shifting perspectives exert an irresistible pull. Direct, unsettling and atmospheric.”
Margaret Leroy
“Helene Gremillon tells her heartrending tale of human frailty, cruelty and love in prose of subtle elegance, and her flawed, fascinating characters stayed with me long after I’d finished the book. This is poised and beautiful storytelling.”
Sandra Smith
The Confidant is a must read for anyone who loves intrigue. It will keep you guessing until the very last page - beautifully written, original and thoroughly engaging.”
Historical Novels Review
“A beautiful, intricate book, The Confidant is held together with delicate threads and secrets. I scarcely know how to review it without inadvertently giving one away. It’s a story of enduring emotions—love, jealousy, revenge—and the lengths that we will go to in their name. A love story, a thriller, a war novel, The Confidant is hard to put down. And, when you do, you’ll want to flip back to the beginning and read again to see what clues you may have missed the first time. This gripping little story with its flawed, yet memorable characters is highly recommended.” An Editor's Choice pick, February 2013
Le Figaro Litteraire
"The reader is literally riveted to this story, both thriller and historical account. The text has accents of maturity, a stunning mastery of narration, a sense of suspense worthy of a top-notch film. A gripping first novel." 
Le Point
"Hélène Grémillon: remember this name! Scrupulously written, with fine and harmonious phrasing that renders the heroines' voices perfectly."
Le Nouvel Observateur
"Hélène Grémillon's talent bursts forth in this first novel, as much for the style as the historical details and the suspense that persists up to the very last paragraph. As for the main characters... they are all complex, unpredictable and above all charismatic."
The Saturday Age (Australia)
“This most assured first novel is structured like a series of matryoshka dolls; as we start reading, stories within stories are revealed until we are finally faced with the gem at the centre. Grémillon’s conclusion to what is both mystery story and romance is an absolute crackerjack.”
Herald on Sunday (Australia)
“Sensitively written, it is a suspenseful, absorbing tale about the power of history and how it plays on the present.”
Grazia (Australia)
“A truly compelling read.”
BSC News (France)
“A novel about the complicity between history with a small ‘h’ — the characters’ stories—and History with a capital ‘H.’ As in Bernard Schlink’s The Reader, nothing is more moving than to witness characters as castaways shipwrecked by History.”
Courier Mail (Australia)
“Step back in time with this intriguing French mystery... Grémillon expertly builds the psychological suspense.”
Paris Match Belgium (France)
“The cinematic rhythm is thrilling. A triumph.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101603628
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/30/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
213,279
File size:
990 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Hélène Grémillon was born in France in 1977. She has degrees in literature and history and has worked as a journalist at the French newspaper, Le Figaro, before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Paris with her partner, singer and songwriter Julien Clerc, and their child. She received The Prince Pierre Literary Prize for The Confidant, her first novel.

Visit www.helenegremillon.com.

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The Confidant: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Ashtead More than 1 year ago
This story is spellbinding in one way, sad in another and, of course a page-turner. Our book club is discussing it and we all agree. Well worth the time. Something different as well as something that may hit close to home.
The-Broke-Book-Bank More than 1 year ago
I won a free ARC copy through a giveaway. I really enjoyed this book. The characters were so well done. Each complex with their own voice that shines through. While you won't agree with their decisions you can see their reasoning and how well it fits with who they are. All of them extract a response, several responses usually, and nothing is simple. I didn't have a problem at all with the speed or pacing. I was so wrapped up in story. It really is riveting. The plot twists and turns leaving your stomach in knots. I just couldn't put it down. While I'm sure there are other books along the same plot idea this book just does it so well. Even if it sounds contrived and over done and you think you know where the story is going before it starts, I still recommend it. I highly recommend it for everyone really. If it doesn't surprise you, it will at least draw you in and entertain you. Now it's an easy read but it's not light. It deals with heavy topics with a backdrop of a very depressing and terrifying time. It's a drama. A small scale drama where things just cascade out of control. There's so much information given in the blurb so you know what you're heading into yet that knowledge won't spoil the journey at all. I liked the resolution. There were minor issues with the writing where I had to re-read to get it but I think that's mostly due to translation. I actually liked the writing for the most part. I like how the typeface changed for each character and didn't have a problem remembering who was narrating. The ending paragraphs were very moving. I sat for several seconds just feeling it. Then my brain kick it when I realized there was no afterword and it was really the end of the book. That just irritated me. It was just left hanging on what happens next. I don't expect nor want the next 20 years, how about just the next day? Seriously, after the roller-coaster of ride I went though the track stops in the middle of nowhere leaving me to hike the rest of the way. I feel owed to the confrontation between Camille and the remaining parties of this sordid affair. Without this, I'm not satisfied and that's the main reason why this book is 4 stars instead of 5. I loved the book, I just hate lose ends.