Giverny. During the day, the home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his waterlilies. But once the tourists have gone, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village.
This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another. Jérôme Morval, a man whose passion for art was matched only by his passion for women, has been found dead in the stream that runs through the gardens. In his pocket is a postcard of Monet’s Waterlilies with the words: Eleven years old. Happy Birthday.
Entangled in the mystery are three women: a young painting prodigy, the seductive village schoolteacher and an old widow who watches over the village from a mill by the stream. All three of them share a secret. But what do they know about the discovery of Jérôme Morval’s corpse? And what is the connection to the mysterious, rumoured painting of Black Waterlilies?
I do love novels which, when you finish them, make you go back to particular parts or sometimes right back to the start to try and pick up on little things you might have missed the first time round. This is definitely one of those!
The story itself felt quite slow to me – though the first few pages really intrigued me (they definitely hooked me in), I then felt like it lost me a bit at some points. I felt it was really disjointed with the different people and sections and it didn’t feel like it really meshed together. I started to feel a bit distracted, though the writing (even in translation) is really wonderful.
The characters were both intriguing and a little dull, somehow – they were interesting to read about but didn’t really make me hugely care about them. However, as I kept reading, and certain things were revealed (I won’t say too much about anything so as not to ruin anyone’s enjoyment of this book) it all fell, satisfyingly, into place – and all my confusion became clear! For this and the great writing I give this book 4 stars – it is quite slow at times, but I think it’s worth it if you keep going, and is one of those books that leaves you thinking about it afterwards!