Cover Image: All That We Have Lost

All That We Have Lost

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Member Reviews

I absolutely adored this book from start to finish and it has been one of my favourite reads of the year. I can’t wait to read from the author in the future!
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Loved Simone's sections, not so much a fan of Imogen's. I'm not sure why but I just struggled to get into it and found it quite boring and drawn out whereas Simone's sections were gripping and engaging.
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Another wonderful read from the aithor. Evocation and emotional, with great plot and characters. Highly recommended.
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Historical fiction at it’s best. Winner of the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers 2022. Additionally the author has this story with duel time line.It spans from World War ll to the war ravaged Chateau in 2019…..
Thank you for the advance copy,
#Netgalley, # Susanne Fortin, and # Ana & Aries
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I have said that I am tired of WWII books, but I am glad I read this one.  Told in two timelines in France current day and WWII - the story is a British woman, recently widowed, who decides to buy a chateau in France and restore it.  The local people are not too happy about her arrival.  She has to figure out why and change their perceptions.  A good read.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Aria Fiction, & Independent Publishers Group for the opportunity to read and review this book before it's publication date! This in no way affected my review, opinions are my own.

DNF @ 18%, 75pgs

Unfortunately this one didn't have enough going for it to keep me interested. That being said, her books have very high ratings on Goodreads, and I did read and thoroughly enjoy The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger, so definitely give that one a try even if this one doesn't work for you!
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Flipping back and forth between Simone in 1944 and Imogen in 2019 Brittany, this book follows the story of resistance in Britanny during WW2 specifically events around a chatau that burned down toward the end of the war that Imogen buys and restores in 2019.

It took me a while to understand the connection between the 2 timeliness but once I did I found the story both educational and engaging. The characters were believable and well presented.

Overall a great read, highly recommended
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Francophiles and fans of The Nightingale and The Winemaker's Wife will enjoy this dual timeline novel, in which new widow Imogen finds a beautiful abandoned chateau and starts to rebuild her life among its ruins. Back in 1944 the chateau was the scene of wartime devastation; many years later its up to Imogen to uncover the truth about the ghosts of the past.
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Readers who enjoy heart-wrenching and emotional dual timeline dramas will love best-selling author Suzanne Fortin’s latest novel, All That We Have Lost.

Imogen and her husband had always dreamed of settling in France and making a new life for themselves in this beautiful country. However, all of their hopes and dreams for the future had been cruelly dashed by a heart-breaking twist of fate. Now a widow, Imogen vows to honour her husband’s wishes and decides to take the leap and move to France by herself. When she finds a beautiful abandoned château, Imogen thinks that she has found the perfect place to start over and rebuild her life. However, among the ruins of her new home, she quickly realizes that all isn’t as idyllic as she had previously thought. The locals won’t go anywhere near the château and when a mystery from the past rears its head, Imogen finds herself desperate for answers and determined to uncover the secrets that have haunted her house for decades.

Years earlier, in 1944, a determined Simone Varon vowed to do whatever it takes to avoid the German soldiers that had come to her village and wreaked havoc over everybody’s lives. Simone doesn’t want to come within a hair’s breadth of these cruel and unforgiving soldiers – until one of them begins to leave medicine bottles for her sick brother. Could there be more to these enemy soldiers than Simone had previously thought? As a tentative friendship develops between her and the German soldier, Simone is surprised when her feelings for him blossom into something far deeper, but when the Resistance come calling, she finds herself torn between duty and her heart’s desire…

In the present day as Imogen begins to restore the chateau, will she manage to put old ghosts to rest and make a fresh start for herself in France? Or will past sins continue to exert their malevolent hold over her future?

All That We Have Lost is a beautifully written, wonderfully absorbing and highly atmospheric dual timeline novel that tugs at the heartstrings and will bring a tear to the eye of even the most jaded of readers. Suzanne Fortin writes so powerfully and sensitively about love, loss, grief, hope and healing and readers will be completely and utterly immersed in this compulsively readable page-turner.

Evocative, enthralling and enjoyable, Suzanne Fortin’s All That We Have Lost is an emotionally satisfying dual timeline tale readers won’t forget in a hurry.
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Often with split time novels, I have a marked preference for the historical storyline. Not so with Suzanne Fortin’s All That We Have Lost, and that speaks to the skill of the writer in creating a relatable character living in a small French village in 1944, and filling me with dread over her interactions with the occupying Germans. While in the modern day storyline, the narrative was not immediately as immersive or main characters as personable, but discovering the reasons behind the continued animosity towards both the English widow renovating the local chateau and the French architect who is assisting her. 

And that is how you write a compelling split-time, World War II to modern day, story – a careful balance of dread and anticipation, a well developed sense of time and place, strong main characters in each timeline with teased out connections, and heavy subject matter balanced by moments of hope. Recommended.

This review refers to a digital galley I voluntarily read via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.
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How the characters and the chateau fit into both stories will become evident as you read the stories. The book is a tearjerker and tragic but also romantic and uplifting in spots. It is written beautifully with vivid descriptions of the chateau and the gardens and of the small French town both past and present. It holds a bit of history and a bit of the beauty of the French countryside. It was an interesting book to read and I would recommend it.
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This was a brilliant read and is being featured on my blog for my quick star reviews feature, which I have created on my blog so I can catch up with all the books I have read and therefore review.
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A beautiful historical read, with lovely prose and a gripping storyline. It kept me enthralled until the end. Definitely recommend.
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Thank you Suzanne Fortin for a well written and engaging story of lost love and moving on with life to fulfil shared dreams.
I hadn’t read books by this author previously, nor am I a fan of historical fiction, but I became connected and interested in both the story and the characters. The conflicting emotions, different timelines and journey’s traveled held my interest.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This was a dual timeline and both parts of the story kept me interested. I found it to be well paced and well written with interesting characters
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This is the first book I have read by this author but it will definitely not be my last.  I loved the way this story was told, it sucked me in, right from the beginning to the end. I loves the characters of both the present and the past stories. 

Imogen Wren is a young widow, whose husband died four years ago and she has not really moved on or come to terms with life without him.  Imogen decides on the spur of the moment after seeing a note from her husband that she is going to move to southern France and buy a home, her and her husband had talked about buying a place and fixing it up, so she feels that this is what she needs to do. She falls in love with a run down chateau in a small village and knows it is the place for her. A local man, Laurent agrees to help her, but the other villagers are very cool towards him, some even hostile and then Imogen discovers it is all tied to the chateau and worth the story of Simone, Laurent’s grandmother. 

An interesting tale about a small village during WWII, you see how the war touched even the smallest of villages and made heroes and enemies of friends.

 I loved this story, I will definitely check out this author’s other books.
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All That We Have Lost is the second novel by British author, Suzanne Fortin. In the village of Trédion in rural Brittany, eighteen-year-old Simone Varon and her flute have attracted the unwanted attention of more than one German officer of the occupying force. It’s 1944, food is scarce, and the German army has commandeered the Chateau. 

Anti-German sentiment in the town is high, but all are wary of being exposed by collaborators. Simone finds her feelings conflicted by encounters with Oberleutnant Max Becker, a music teacher from Hamburg who appreciates her playing and shows a kindness unusual for their oppressors. Unfortunately, it’s the obnoxious Oberleutnant Claus Gossman, whose demand that she perform for the officers at the Chateau, that presents the best opportunity of helping the Resistance.

Seventy-five years on, English interior designer, Imogen Wren falls in love with the somewhat derelict Chateau at which Simone used to glare hatefully whenever she passed. Imogen intends to fulfill the plans she and her late husband had made to restore and run a B&B. But she finds that not everyone in the town welcomes her presence or her plans for the Chateau. Although she is told it is “tainted, bad things happened there, it’s unlucky”, this fails to deter her.

When the local builders reject her approach, it’s a former resident of Trédion, architect Laurent Roussell who helps her out with surveys and basic utilities. But is his interest in the Chateau simply altruistic, or does he have a hidden agenda? And exactly why is he so disliked by the townspeople?

This is a dual timeline story that features intrigue and romance and tragedy, in a village where many cannot forgive what they believe were anti-patriotic acts, even more than seven decades on. The story slowly unfolds to eventually reveal the truth. Fortin easily evokes the feel of the small French village, both in the present day, and during wartime. A sweet and moving tale. 
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Aria & Aries
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“Papa always told us that to be brave doesn’t mean you have no fear.
It just means you can move forwards in spite of that fear”

Okay! So, after checking out a few of the early reviews, I had my tissues at the ready before I began reading this book. However, apart from one or two ‘misty eyed’ moments, they weren’t really needed, as although this story was undoubtedly sad at the outset, by the time it reached its conclusion, I felt only uplifted in spirit and full of hope for Imogen and Laurent’s future happiness, with a past laid carefully to rest.

I do also try to never judge a book by its cover, but how could anyone resist such an amazing richness of colour and a sense of time and place. This one is certainly going to stand out amongst its contemporaries on the bookshop shelves!

All That We Have Lost,  is a well structured and beautifully rendered, dual timeline love story with a mystery, set in the same small Brittany town of 1944 and 2019. It is broken down into bite-sized, alternating dateline chapters which are well signposted and easy to follow, and is narrated in the first person by Simone and Imogen, as they each tell their own stories. In a town which has changed relatively little in the intervening years between visits and still boasts a large number of generational families still living there, the two strands of the story weave seamlessly together beautifully, if somewhat painfully, into a whole new chapter which will be secure into the future.

Whilst this is very much a story which features two strong, brave and determined female protagonists, I did find myself favouring Simone’s recollections of a 1944, small provincial town which has been occupied by invading German forces, who have made the local chateau their headquarters, but who have no respect for its history and heritage. She discovers that The Resistance has a very healthy presence in the town, to which she is recruited, when it transpires that she will be required to visit the chateau regularly as part of the German officers “entertainment” evenings, as she is a more than competent flautist. Unfortunately, Simone is also set to lose her heart to the enemy, when she realises that not all German officers are cruel, or condone the actions of many of their comrades. Max has long since decided that not only does “warfare make strange bedfellows”, but it can also make monsters, so he must ultimately decide whether he is prepared to lay down his life for duty or love.

Imogen’s story is a wonderfully sympathetic foil for Simone’s story, when, still recovering from a recent heartbreak of her own, she arrives in this same provincial town, some 70 years later and falls in love with the abandoned and derelict Tredion Chateau, where she decides to make a new beginning for herself, unaware of the vitriol and visceral bad feeling the place stirs in the local population. Matters are brought to a climax when Imogen discovers that her heart can also be tamed and her life transformed, by Laurent Roussell, a local man who has been all but ostracised by those with long memories, who can recall his family connection with Simone Varon and a German soldier. Once they both open up, confront their emotions and lay bare their innermost thoughts, Imogen and Laurent make it their mission to unravel the secrets of the past and set the record straight about Simone’s part in the occupation, thus paving the way for a reconciliation between Laurent and his silent accusers and finally laying the ghosts of the past to rest, freeing the chateau from its curse.

Those are just the bare bones of this compelling, well structured, multi-layered storyline, which has so much to offer, but no more ‘spoilers’ from me! In many respects it represents a fictional eye into the social history and culture of a place where time has stood still for many of its inhabitants. It is rich in atmosphere, emotionally evocative and beautifully textured, presenting a lesson which transcends time, about things not being what they might seem at first sight and how we shouldn’t be too ready to jump to conclusions. The writing is perceptive, fluent and immersive, with a great visuality and depth taking me right to the heart of the action, in this very three dimensional saga, where characters, plot and location, all play an equally important role.

Suzanne has created a well drawn and developed cast of characters, who have been given a strong and commanding voice with which to tell their story, with just the merest of ‘hands on’ touches from their creator. Strong, courageous, resilient and determined female characters are at the heart of both stories, but they are also women of compassion, fortitude and heart. Often complex and emotional, raw and passionate, vulnerable and searching for a sense of belonging; but always genuine, believable and authentic. Even when some of the characters were less than open, honest and truthful, they were still easy to connect with, relate to and invest in, as their motives were never malicious or duplicitous.

This book definitely ticks all the right boxes for the reasons I read and how I want to feel when I have finished the last word and closed that final page. Thank you for taking me on an amazing journey, Suzanne.
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I loved the switching POVS and dual timelines! The book had a bit of a slow start but by around 30% I didn’t want to put it down.

There was strong character development with Simone and Imogen. Their stories took twists that I wasn’t expecting, which added to my enjoyment! The writing is atmospheric and beautifully written.

Overall it was a wonderful historical novel with a well-done ending . I’d highly recommend if you enjoy WWII fiction, strong female leads, dual timeline/POV stories!
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Great dual timeline with WW2 and present.   The two main characters Imogen and Simone are likeable strong women and I especially loved Simone's story.   It was definitely a book that held my attention throughout with a good mixture of heartbreak and feelgood that made it a memorable book
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