Jean-Marque Montjean is a new qualified Doctor, working in Salies, France, in 1914, under the management of the bumptious Doctor Gros. Jean-Marque’s first patient of his own is the sardonic and mercurial Paul Treville. When Jean-Marque meets Paul’s sister Katya, the attraction is instant and undeniable. Montjean is enchanted by Katya’s enthusiasm for life, in contrast to her twin brother’s cynical outlook and disdain for others. Paul constantly warns Jean-Marque to stay away from Katya and it becomes clear that the Trevilles are hiding and running from a dark secret in their past. When Jean-Marque is informed that the Trevilles are planning to leave Salies, he insists on one last meeting with Katya, to see if he can persuade her to stay with him…
I enjoyed this book almost all of the way through. It was a very easy read, with an easy to follow storyline, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down. However, the ending was something of a let down, because it felt confusing and over-written. For the first time since starting the book, I found myself having to look back at parts I had read in order to make sure I understood what was happening.
Katya and Paul are both very well drawn characters, and Paul in particular was a character I enjoyed reading about, although he is not portrayed in a particularly sympathetic light. The minor character of Doctor Gros was also great fun. However, Jean-Marque himself is not so easy to care for one way or the other. Although he is the narrator of the story, I found that he was actually the least well rounded out of all of the ‘cast’. I suspect that had he been easier to empathise with, the ending would have been more exciting and enjoyable.
All in all though, this is a mostly enjoyable book, and perfect if you fancy a bit of mystery, but nothing too heavy.