How far must you run to leave the past behind in order to find love?
In Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine, it is 1919, and the end of the war has not brought peace for Emeline Vane. Lost in grief, she is suddenly alone at the heart of a depleted family. And just as everything seems to be slipping beyond her control, in a moment of desperation, she boards a train and runs away.
Her journey leads her to a tiny seaside village in the South of France. Taken in by café owner Maman and her twenty-year-old son, Emeline discovers a world completely new to her: of oranges, olives and wild herbs, the raw, rich tastes of the land. But soon secrets from home begin blowing in on the sea waves.
Fifty years later, Bill Perch, a young solicitor on his first case, finds Emeline’s diary, and begins to trace an anguished story of betrayal and love that will send him on a journey to discover the truth.
What really happened to Emeline all those years ago?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5
First off, thank you to Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a free finished copy of this beautiful book in exchange for my review! All opinions are my own.
Reading Where The Wild Cherries Grow was quite the experience for me. The writing is so rich, especially in respects to the food and the landscape, that I felt like I was right there for all of it.
Where the Wild Cherries Grow switches between perspectives and time periods. Past is 1919 (besides the epilogue) and is told from the perspective of Emeline. First from her diary, and then from her POV as she runs from her past. Present is June & July of 1969, and told from the perspective of William Perch who is a 19 year old assistant solicitor. Bill, as he is usually called, gets tasked with figuring out what happened to Emeline when she disappeared in 1919. Her family is trying to sell the family home to a developer, but Emiline is on the deeds to the home and without her, they cannot sell the house. Her family is hoping to find out that she is either dead or that she went mad. Nice huh?
Both of the main characters in this book are under the age of 20, but it didn’t feel like that at all. Both Emeline and Bill seemed wise beyond their years, and I felt like they were much older than they actually were.
The ending was even more beautiful than the rest of the book (if that’s possible), and I was in tears more than once. The storytelling in Where the Wild Cherries Grow is a masterpiece, and thanks to Laura Madeleine‘s descriptions I really want to visit the south of France now!
I really don’t feel like anything I say can do this book justice. Between the jumping from past to present all the time, the short chapters, and everything going on, I had no problem finishing this book in a short amount of time. The only reason this wasn’t a 5 star read for me is because I wish the ending would have had a little more closure. It gives you a hint of what might have happened with some things, but you don’t know for sure.
Final Thought: If you like historical fiction and food then there is a good chance you will love this novel. There is even a bit of a romance that was completely charming. I cannot wait to read more from Madeleine!
*This title was published on 13 Feb 2018*