Today I am delighted to be taking part in the Random Things blog tour for
The City of Tears by Kate Mosse.
For ten violent years, the Wars of Religion have raged across France. But now, peace has been brokered and a royal wedding has been negotiated. It is a marriage that could see France reunited at last.
An invitation has arrived for Minou Joubert and her family to attend this historic wedding in Paris, What Minou doesn’t know is that her family’s oldest enemy will also be there, that the Jouberts will soon be scattered to the winds after tragedy strikes, and that a beloved child will disappear without trace.
Sweeping from Carcassonne to Paris and Amsterdam – the City of Tears itself – this is a story of one family’s fight to stay together and survive against the devastating tides of history.
Both substantial and immersive – if you want to leave twenty-first-century pandemic Britain behind, this should be your preferred mode of transport.” Radio Times
This quote was on the back of the book and it says everything about what a good book can do for us in troubled times. And Kate Mosse does it brilliantly! Holding this book in my hand, I became easily immersed in a different place and time. She builds atmosphere and character with an expert hand and I was right there in the heart of the action with very little effort on my part.
The story is based around the St. Bartholomew’s massacre which took place in August 1572, an event that I have been, until now, unfamiliar with. The massacre began in Paris just a few days after the marriage Henry of Navarre and Marguerite of Valois. Many thousands died in Paris and beyond as the slaughter spread. So these are the historic events that are our back drop but what Kate does so very well is create a cast of characters that bring the events and the time in which they were set alive. I followed Minou Joubert and her family through the trials and tribulations. Their highs and lows, their joy and despair. It is a great example of the impermanence of life. This highly respected family become displaced from their lives without warning and highlights the plight of many refugees from the time (also a very contemporary issue that many still attempt to turn away from). They are resilient though and manage to find a way to cherish what they have and protect it as best they can.
There are many layers to this tale. It does highlight a particularly brutal time in European history. There is no getting away from that. It also made me think about the wars and atrocities that are done in the name of religion. Yet it is mankind that has wielded the sword or knife and twisted the words of faith to their own end. I am a little squeamish and I can honestly say that I encountered nothing that I found truly troubling to read. Yes there is peril and behaviour of the most atrocious kind but it is very well written and not unnecessarily gory. Kate writes with elegance and yet clarity, depicting what could be a very difficult subject matter indeed – especially the thread that follows the mysterious loss of a much loved child.
The story was resolved wonderfully and I believe there is to be a third book in the series which I very much look forward to. I have not yet read the first, The Burning Chambers, but I do not believe this has impacted on my enjoyment of this second book. I will certainly read it now though (have already ordered a copy!) as I have greatly enjoyed The City of Tears and I whole-heartedly recommend it.
Thank you to the lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to the publisher for sending me a review copy. I
About the author
Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. The author of eight novels and short story collections – including the multimillion selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel) and Gothic fiction The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, the latter has been adapted for the stage and will premiere in April 2022. Kate’s books have been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries.
She is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and a regular interviewer for theatre & fiction events. Kate divides her time between Chichester in West Sussex and Carcassonne in south-west France. She was awarded an OBE for her services to literature and women in 2013.
Find out more by visiting her website: www.katemosse.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter: @katemosse
Follow her on Instagram: @katemossewriter
Follow her on Facebook: KateMosseAuthor