The Lost Chapter
By Caroline Bishop
What’s it about?
Florence and Lilli meet at finishing school in Lyon. Despite some differences, they forge a firm friendship that promises to last a lifetime. But a terrible betrayal prematurely tears them apart.
Years later in England, Florence has become the woman her friend knew she could be – creative, bold, and independent.
The exact opposite of Alice, a young woman troubled by a recent trauma, whom Florence is
determined to help bring out of her shell. Just as Lilli once did for her.
When Florence discovers that the novel she’s reading is written by Lilli and is based on their time at school, the two stories begin to unfold together. Past events illuminate the future, and it becomes clear that long-held secrets can’t stay buried forever.
What I think:
First of all, look at that cover – absolutely stunning! It would absolutely guarantee that I picked this up in a bookstore. And I would not be disappointed.
This book is completely enthralling. It draws you in from the first chapter and will keep you reading long after bedtime.
I absolutely loved the characters. Flo is dismissed by the locals, the teens consider her an elderly cat lady. No one thinks about the life she has led.
When eighteen year old Alice becomes her summer dog walker, Alice realises there is so much more to Flo. Her life has been full of drama and excitement, love and heartbreak. Flo is kind and warm-hearted. She is also really good at reading people and encouraging them. She soon makes it her mission to bring a smile back to Alice’s face.
Alice is fragile and vulnerable. Filled with anxiety since the death of her best friend. She is overwhelmed by guilt and has completely withdrawn into herself. Her mother, Carla, is desperate to help her, but doesn’t known how. Flo setsnout to bring them together and repairable fractured relationship.
What I love about this story is that the past is seamlessly interwoven with the present.
Flo’s former best friend, Lilli, is now a published author. Her latest novel is described as ‘semi-autobiographical’. It tells the story of Lenny and Fran, two wealthy teenagers at an exclusive French finishing school. American, Lenny is free-spirited and independent she is rebellious, romantic and looking for adventure. British Fran, is quiet and reflective, supportive and loyal. Their friendship is intense and has clearly had a lasting impact on them both.
Through Lenny and Fran, the storybof Lilli and Flo is revealed. There are twists and secrets along the way.
This booknis so atmospheric. The sections at the finishing school highlight the constraints women faced in the 1950s. The girls are taught to be homemakers and hostesses. They are prepared for marriage and very little else.
In contrast, Alice is being prepared for a ‘good job’. She has been accepted to university to study business, something that she does not care about, but is also about pleasing her parents.
The road trip to France is an opportunity for all three women, Flo, Carla and Alice, to face their pasts and play for their futures.
I really enjoyed this book and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish Flo and Alice’s story.
About the author:
Caroline Bishop began her journalism career at a small arts magazine in London, after a brief spell in educational publishing. She soon moved to work for a leading London theatre website, for which she reviewed shows and interviewed major acting and directing stars. Caroline turned freelance in 2012 and a year later moved to Switzerland,where her writing veered towards travel and she has contributed to publications
including the Guardian, the Independent, the Telegraph and BBC Travel, writing mainly
about Switzerland, and co-wrote the 2019 edition of the DK Eyewitness Guide to Switzerland. For two years Caroline was editor of TheLocal.ch, an English-language Swiss news site, and it was during this time that she became fascinated with aspects of Swiss history and culture, particularly the evolution of women’s rights.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for my gifted copy of The Lost Chapter and to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this wonderful blog tour.