How far must you run to leave the past behind in order to find love?
In Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine, it is 1919, and the end of the war has not brought peace for Emeline Vane. Lost in grief, she is suddenly alone at the heart of a depleted family. And just as everything seems to be slipping beyond her control, in a moment of desperation, she boards a train and runs away.
Her journey leads her to a tiny seaside village in the South of France. Taken in by café owner Maman and her twenty-year-old son, Emeline discovers a world completely new to her: of oranges, olives and wild herbs, the raw, rich tastes of the land. But soon secrets from home begin blowing in on the sea waves.
Fifty years later, Bill Perch, a young solicitor on his first case, finds Emeline’s diary, and begins to trace an anguished story of betrayal and love that will send him on a journey to discover the truth.
What really happened to Emeline all those years ago?
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Where the Wild Cherries Grow by Laura Madeleine is a historical novel that takes readers from 1969 to 1919. In 1969 William “Bill” Perch is a solicitor’s assistant at Hillbrand and Moffat Solicitors. Mrs. Mallory and her brother need the firm’s assistance in locating Emeline Vane. Emeline is one of the estate’s heirs, and she has been missing for fifty years. They are unable to sell the derelict manor house until they can prove that she is dead. It is up to Bill to locate Emeline or proof of her death. Bill travels to the family estate in Norfolk where he discovers an old diary of Emeline’s along with other papers. Through Emeline’s words, Bill feels a connection with this woman from the past. Bill knows that she disappeared at the train station in Paris and this is where he begins. The journey to uncover Emeline’s whereabouts starts Bill on a new path and a chance for rich, full life.
Where the Wild Cherries Grow is a dual timeline novel. The story is told from Bill and Emeline’s point-of-views in alternating chapters. Ms. Madeleine has a nice descriptive writing style. The pace is a little slower than I normally like, but it does go with the story. The author provides vivid descriptions that allow the reader to visualize the scenes (brings the scenery of France alive). The food depictions will have your mouth watering. Emeline and Bill are well-developed characters. I found them to be real and fit into their time periods. I found the slang from 1969 to be entertaining (made me chuckle). Readers experience Emeline’s journey and I can certainly understand why she took off. Life was very different for women in 1919 especially if they were under the age of majority. Where the Wild Cherries Grow is a unique tale that will keep you reading to find out what happened to Emeline.