You know when you meet someone for the first time and instantly realise that they are on your wavelength and will become a friend? That’s how I felt the first time I met Gill Paul, author of The Lost Daughter. Our paths have crossed several times since and I have been to two of Gill’s book launches, for both The Lost Daughter and The Secret Wife. Gill has featured on Linda’s Book Bag with a super guest post about the run up to publication in an author’s life that you can read here. I’ve been intending to read Gill’s books for ever and a day, but life has always intervened. This time, however, I’m delighted finally to have a review to share today.
My enormous thanks to Gill Paul for a copy of The Lost Daughter in return for an honest review.
The Lost Daughter is available for purchase here.
The Lost Daughter
A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret…
From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.
Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
My Review of The Lost Daughter
Events of 1918 in Russia will reverberate down the decades and across continents.
Why on earth have I waited so long to read Gill Paul? The Lost Daughter is such an impressive read because of the meticulous research that has gone into the history, politics, sociology and geography of the two timelines which Gill Paul blends with exceptional storytelling into a narrative that grips, entertains and actually shocks at times too. The Lost Daughter truly is a sweeping narrative of love and betrayal, grief and love, national politics and ordinary people so that I was entirely caught up in the magic of the book. I know I’m enjoying a read when I find myself talking to the characters!
I think it’s the attention to detail that works so well. Everything from natural imagery to realistic living conditions is woven into the text in a way that is never jarring or overtly clever but which illuminates perfectly what Gill Paul wants us to think and feel so that we experience the events at the same time as the participants. I went through several emotions reading The Lost Daughter from disgust and horror, through sadness and anger to joy and surprise. Gill Paul conveys brutality and tenderness with equal skill.
There’s quite a wide range of characters and often I find this element of the writer’s craft difficult to retain, but each person was so distinct in The Lost Daughter I had no trouble here. I found it fascinating how historically accurate and yet how fresh and modern the characters were so that I believed in each one completely. They brought out a range of responses in me as a reader from sadness to anger and elation.
The plot is magnificent. I’m not a big fan of dual timelines but here I loved it. I was so entranced by how the two strands were brought together that I simply devoured The Lost Daughter every spare minute I had. Whilst some of the events were a hazy aspect of my history studies, they were brought alive with vivid realism by Gill Paul. I loved the blend of fact and fiction. The themes of love, identity, relationships and so on are universal but so well handled that The Lost Daughter would make a simply fabulous big or small screen film.
I finished The Lost Daughter with absolute contentment. I felt I had been educated, entertained and emotionally involved. What more could a reader ask of historical fiction? I loved this book.
About Gill Paul
Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her novel, , is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Gill’s novels include Another Woman’s Husband, The Secret Wife, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914, Women and Children First about a young steward who works on the Titanic and The Affair set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.
All of Gill’s lovely books can be found here.