61+7QMp4AJL._SL500_From Goodreads: “From the author of the New York Times— bestselling novel Labyrinth comes another haunting tale of secrets, murder, and the occult set in both nineteenth-century and twenty-first-century France.
In 1891, young Léonie Vernier and her brother Anatole arrive in the beautiful town of Rennes-les-Bains, in southwest France. They’ve come at the invitation of their widowed aunt, whose mountain estate, Domain de la Cade, is famous in the region. But it soon becomes clear that their aunt Isolde—and the Domain—are not what Léonie had imagined. The villagers claim that Isolde’s late husband died after summoning a demon from the old Visigoth sepulchre high on the mountainside. A book from the Domain’s cavernous library describes the strange tarot pack that mysteriously disappeared following the uncle’s death. But while Léonie delves deeper into the ancient mysteries of the Domain, a different evil stalks her family—one which may explain why Léonie and Anatole were invited to the sinister Domain in the first place.
More than a century later, Meredith Martin, an American graduate student, arrives in France to study the life of Claude Debussy, the nineteenth century French composer. In Rennes-les-Bains, Meredith checks into a grand old hotel—the Domain de la Cade. Something about the hotel feels eerily familiar, and strange dreams and visions begin to haunt Meredith’s waking hours. A chance encounter leads her to a pack of tarot cards painted by Léonie Vernier, which may hold the key to this twenty-first century American’s fate . . . just as they did to the fate of Léonie Vernier more than a century earlier.

My Review

I enjoyed this audiobook by Kate Mosse, the second book in the Languedoc trilogy.

Just like the first book Labyrinth, I actually read this back in 2011, and going by my original brief 2 star review on Goodreads, I thought it was very slow and only got better towards the end. I didn’t like some of the main characters in the 1891 timeline and mostly preferred the modern day story.

This time however the story grew on me and I enjoyed it a lot more. It was a slow burn of a novel which doesn’t always work for me. I preferred the modern timeline from the beginning, but the 1891 storyline definitely improved for me in the second half of the book. I realise now that Kate Mosse likes to slowly build the storylines in her books, so that you get to know her characters and settings deeply, as the tension and mystery grows.

There was a lot of tension and mystery in this book, involving Tarot cards and local folklore. Some of the story is set in the autumn months leading up to Halloween, so I think it would make a perfect spooky book for that time of year. The characters that annoyed me last time weren’t as irritating this time, and I could even understand why they behaved in the way they did. It was good to be reacquainted with one of my favourite characters from Labyrinth, in fact I’m pretty sure they are in all three books.

I’m still not sure if I enjoyed Lorelei King’s narration, sometimes she was a bit too mysterious in her presentation, but she was very good at the different characters’ accents. Part of the problem was that I was listening to an old library audiobook alongside the updated ebook and there were quite a few differences in the text (changed chapters and updated writing). Also in one of the final chapters she kept using the wrong name for one of the characters in a key moment in the story, which definitely didn’t help! :/

Apart from those niggles I enjoyed this book more this time, and definitely recommend the trilogy if you enjoy historical fiction with dual timelines. However I do suggest you either listen to the audiobook or read the book, not both like I did!

Book 5/20