A brilliant story of love, danger, courage and betrayal, from Kate Furnivall, the internationally bestselling author of The Survivors.
1953, the South of France. It’s the era of the Cold War and the fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father’s farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.
While her dream is to also work for the CIA, Eloïse is instead a private investigator at The Favre Detective Agency. Her boss, Clarisse Favre is polished and enigmatic, as mysterious as the cases they handle.
Eloïse’s life is thrown into turmoil one night when she is helping her brother with a case and they have an accident. She blames herself for his injuries. Then, her brother is moved from the hospital they’re in. She has no idea if he is dead or alive, until she receives a telegram asking her to return home to her family farm.
Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents.
Her family is also in crisis, with the Americans planning to use part of her father’s property as a landing strip. There are repercussions that the family is dealing with. But the most important discovery when she arrives home is that Andre is alive. Unable to work, he has returned to his father’s farm. However, Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.
Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse learns who she can and can’t trust, and what side of all this tension her family lie on. And surprisingly, she finds an ally – and more – in Andre’s childhood friend, and local policeman Leon.
The Guardian of Lies is a wonderful tale about one family that has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances. Beautifully written, Furnivall really sets the scene of both Paris and the French countryside and the Cold War period.
All the characters are well-written. Eloïse is strong and complex and her relationship with her brother Andre beautifully told and central to the book. Eloïse and Andre’s father, Leon and also Clarisse have interesting character arcs that have you turning the pages and thinking you know where the story is headed, but then discovering you don’t. There are twists and turns aplenty.
This is brilliant storytelling, taut writing and characters you cheer for from the first page to the last.
Kate Furnivall is the author of eight novels, including the international bestseller The Russian Concubine. She lives in Devon.