A young musician uncovers a painful family history and must confront the realities of collaboration and betrayal in Vichy France
Family history has always been a mystery to Will Latymer. His father flatly refused to talk about it, and with no other relatives to consult, it seems that a mystery it shall always remain. Until of course, Will meets Ghislaine, his beautiful French cousin, in a chance encounter that sends him headlong into the life of his longlost grandfather, Henry Latymer. Reading Henry's old letters and diaries for the first time, Will discovers an idealistic young man, full of hopes and optimism - an optimism that will gradually be crushed as the realities of life under the Vichy regime become glaringly clear.
But the more Will delves into Henry's past, and into France's troubled history, the darker the secrets he discovers about his grandfather become, and the more he has cause to wonder if sometimes, the past should remain buried.
A beautifully written and moving story of love and betrayal, casts light on the "Dark Years" of French history, 1940-44. It is a novel suffused with a love and appreciation of France and French culture, and a highly intelligent examination of the other country that is the past.
Euan Cameron is an editor and translator. Madeleine is his first novel. He worked in book publishing and as a literary journalist for many years before becoming a translator from French. His translations include works by Julien Green, Paul Morand, Simone de Beauvoir, Patrick Modiano and Philippe Claudel, as well as biographies of Marcel Proust and Irene
Nemirovsky. He was appointed Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2011.