The House at Zaronza

The House at Zaronza The past uncovered Rachel Swift travels to Corsica to discover about her forebears She comes across a series of passionate love letters and delves into their history The story unfolds of a secret roma

  • Title: The House at Zaronza
  • Author: Vanessa Couchman
  • ISBN: 9781909841826
  • Page: 134
  • Format: Paperback
  • The past uncovered Rachel Swift travels to Corsica to discover about her forebears She comes across a series of passionate love letters and delves into their history The story unfolds of a secret romance at the start of the 20th century between a village schoolteacher and Maria, the daughter of a bourgeois family Maria s parents have other plans for her future, thThe past uncovered Rachel Swift travels to Corsica to discover about her forebears She comes across a series of passionate love letters and delves into their history The story unfolds of a secret romance at the start of the 20th century between a village schoolteacher and Maria, the daughter of a bourgeois family Maria s parents have other plans for her future, though, and she sees her dreams crumble Her life is played out against the backdrop of Corsica, the island of beauty , and the turmoil of World War I This is a story about love, loss and reconciliation in a strict patriarchal society, whose values are challenged as the world changes Love gained and lost.

    One thought on “The House at Zaronza”

    1. The House at Zaronza is a beautiful piece of historical fiction by Vanessa Couchman. I bought the book a while ago but, to my shame, I have only just now got round to reading it. More fool me, because it’s an absolute treat of a book. It’s set in Corsica in both the present day and the early twentieth century as our modern day heroine, Rachel, travels to Zaronza in Corsica to find out about her family. Through old letters and a memoir, Rachel uncovers the life of her grandmother, Maria Orsin [...]

    2. The beginning of the novel gives the reader a tiny glimpse of present day Corsican life when Rachel Swift visits the village of Zaronza, in search of information about her grandmother, who was once a resident. An ancestry researcher would be delighted with the scenario put forward by the author which comes in the form of a package of letters which were secretly stored away for many decades. A reading of the letters unravels the secrets of the mysterious Maria who is the recipient of the missives [...]

    3. The House at Zaronza, a story of love, loss and conciliation, set on the island of Corsica in the early 20th century, immediately drew me in, and hooked me right to the end.The story begins in the present, as Rachel Swift arrives at a guesthouse in Corsica in the hope of uncovering her past. But when she discovers a series of love letters between a schoolmaster and his secret lover, another story surfaces, and we walk straight into the life of a brave and remarkable woman of her times.The author [...]

    4. The excellent writing of this novel, as well as the twists and turns of the story, kept me turning the pages, or rather swiping the screen.This is a tale of love, hope, disappointment, betrayal and much more, all set against the beautiful Corsican scenery. The First World War scenes depict the heroine caring for soldiers who have suffered horrific injuries, showing her real character that was, of necessity, hidden in her Corsican village.Highly recommended.

    5. I’ve never been to Corsica, but the descriptions the author gives of the wild and rugged coastline and untamed mountains gave me a detailed image in my mind, which was perfect as the backdrop to the turbulent storyline. It has also made me determined to visit one day.The story begins in the present when a young woman arrives in Corsica trying to piece together her past, but with almost all links extinguished can she shed any light on what happened? All Rachel has to go on is that her grandmoth [...]

    6. I was entranced by Vanessa Couchman’s tale of the discoveries that Rachel Swift makes when she travels to Corsica to discover more about her forebears. We are swept first into the rich setting of Corsica today, and then into the past arising from some love letters that lead to a tale told against the end of the 19th century and through the horrors of the First World War.I felt strongly for the main character of Maria, who went through so much in her life against the backdrop of a Corsica and a [...]

    7. This summer I read the wonderful historical novel set in Corsica, The House At Zaronza. I’ve always wanted to visit this island so I eagerly soaked up the scenery and atmosphere as I read. I was also completely absorbed in the story. It is a well written love story that unfolds through letters discovered nearly a century after they were written. I sometimes hesitate to use the phrase ‘love story’ as it creates an impression of a story that’s soppy and clichéd. But this novel is anything [...]

    8. I only occasionally read historical fiction but this was a good choice. What a joy it is to find a story that is easy to follow, entertaining and well-written. At the end of a book I like to feel I’ve learnt something beyond enjoying the story, which for me makes it more worthwhile. This novel didn’t disappoint.The author has obviously well researched the history of Corsica and her love for it is evident in her heart-felt descriptions. I was fascinated to learn that the inspiration for this [...]

    9. I read Couchman's novel immediately following Morton's The Lake House (which was a far too lengthy disappointment.) What a difference; like drinking good wine after not so good. The House at Zaronza took me back to Corsica. I could see it, I could taste it. The journey with the narrator through the uncovering of family history is handled with extraordinary believability and the switching from the present into the past is done with smooth elegance. I cannot wait for Vanessa Couchman's next novel. [...]

    10. An enchanting and compelling story of a doomed love affair set against the backdrop of a strict moral society and the horrors of the World War 1. As Rachel searches for information about Maria, her Corsican grandmother, she uncovers the story of another Maria, born a few years earlier and ultimately closely connected with Rachel's grandmother.The author's love and knowledge of Corsica shine from this book as the reader is swept up in Maria's struggles to break free from the chains that bind her [...]

    11. A very good novel. Well written and a pacy story. I was reminded of Jane Austen, as far as the story went up to the First World War. For me, if I can taste the coffee, bread and butter, feel the heat of the sun, experience the horror of the hospitals during the First War, then it is a job well done. I do think that Vanessa missed a trick in telling us too much about what happened to Maria in the Second World War. There is another book here. And I, look forward to it.

    12. An atmospheric story of a Corsican woman that helps you understand the way life was for a woman in the early 1900s. I really enjoyed the combination of the love story and the descriptions of Corsica - which were never overbearing. I wanted to know what was going to happen, and couldn't put the book down.

    13. Really enjoyed this story with characters brought to life on the page. I appreciated the research that went into recreating the conditions at the Front during WW1 and the conditions that the soldiers fought under. It wasn’t as predictable as I expected either. A great read!

    14. I purchased this book because I was vacationing with my family in Corsica and wanted to deepen my appreciation of Corsican history, geography, and culture. The House at Zaronza was the perfect story to encompass all of my criteria, and my visit there was a fine field trip to discover the sources of Vanessa Couchman's passion. Of great interest to me was the author's depiction of Corsican women's issues before, during and after World War I, the significant loss of life and limb of Corsican men, a [...]

    15. It's always interesting to read about other countries and this book introduced me to Corsica. I enjoyed the story of a present-day woman trying to discover her unknown Corsican relatives and it was told in such a way from 1900's and 2010 that I was fascinated with the history of the family. I also like that the book was based indirectly on some real life people and situations from the past.

    16. Poignant and beautiful. What a talent Vanessa Couchman is. I quickly fell in love with this expertly weaved tale of love and loss, repression and determination, resilience and pride, set against the rustic splendour of Corsica. A must read for any historical novel fans. A must read for any reader. Maria's life story truly moved me to tears and will live long in the memory.

    17. Was a little disappointed with this story although I liked the descriptions of Corsica very much. However, there is not much action, a rather disappointing ending, and a little too much about nursing in WW1 for my liking. But that's just me.

    18. This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review: "Vanessa Couchman has a huge potential talent, and will be an author to watch"Helen Hollickfounder #DDRevs

    19. Rachel Swift travels to Corsica to find out more about her ancestors and stumbles across a framed letter on the wall of the guest house she is staying at which deepens the mystery further. She finds a woman in the village who knew Maria and she gives her a memoir to read. What she finds is a tender but secret romance between Maria, a member of the Corsica elite and Raphael, a school teacher in Maria's local village. Set near the beginning of WW1 it is a time where women only married the man her [...]

    20. The House at Zaronza, a story of love, loss and conciliation, set on the island of Corsica in the early 20th century, immediately drew me in, and hooked me right to the end.The story begins in the present, as Rachel Swift arrives at a guesthouse in Corsica in the hope of uncovering her past. But when she discovers a series of love letters between a schoolmaster and his secret lover, another story surfaces, and we walk straight into the life of a brave and remarkable woman of her times.The author [...]

    21. Another novel which I chose because we were going to Corsica on vacation. It is probably best described as women's fiction but even as a man I really enjoyed it. It was both sad and uplifting thanks to the main character who despite the heartache and disappointment she experiences in her life finds purpose and happiness through giving selflessly to others. It is also a reminder of how women were so undervalued and expected just to accept their lot in life only a few generations ago and still are [...]

    22. I almost put this book aside before finishing the first chapter. Couchman writes well but makes the same mistake as many writers in trying to cram every writing technique she knows into the first few pages. What she should have done is gone back to the first chapter when she was at least half way through the novel and rewritten it. There is a reason why when we eat a meal, the richest course is the dessert and not the starter. Couchman's editor should have pointed her in the right direction.

    23. I loved this. The settings are beautifully described and I like the way the plot develops. It's very well researched and gets better and better as it goes along.

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