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"Beautifully written and--extraordinarily moving."--The Sunday Times (London)

From the author of the international bestseller Birdsong, comes a haunting historical novel of passion, loss, and courage set in France between the two world wars. This Vintage Original edition marks its first appearance in the United States.

On a rainy night in the 1930s, Anne Louvet appears at the run-down Hotel du Lion d'Or in the village of Janvilliers.  She is seeking a job and a new life, one far removed from the awful injustices of her past. As Anne embarks on a torrential love affair with a married veteran of the Great War, The Girl at the Lion d'Or fashions an unbreakable spell of narrative and atmosphere that evokes French masters from Flaubert to Renoir.      

"This moving and profound novel is perfectly constructed, and admirable in its configurations of place and period."--The Times (London)

"I would urge those who appreciated--The French Lieutenant's Woman to try this one--. They may well think it superior."--Sunday Telegraph (London)
Published: Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780804153751
List price: $9.99
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A beautifully written love story set in the small town of Jainvilliers in 1935-36 against a background of political upheaval as M Blum's government stumbles from crisis to crisis while Hitler's Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.The principal characters are Anne, a beautiful young woman fleeing a tragic past and Charles Hartmann, a successful and married advocate and landowner. The novel opens with Anne arriving by train from Paris to take up a position as waitress at the Lion d'Or Inn in Jainvilliers. The bizarre and menacing concierge, Mme Bouin, tersely welcomes her and issues an extensive list of house rules and duties, and Anne is pitched in at the deep end.She meets Charles Hartmann early on and is almost immediately besotted. He reciprocates her feelings, though perhaps less suddenly, and their tentative relationship commences.Faulks captures the barrenness of a Anne's day to day routine marvellously, making the reader feel the tedium of her daily chores and the long periods of boredom attendant upon waiting tables in a small provincial inn. Hartmann takes her away from that, but only for brief periods - after all, he is married and anxious to avoid scandal within a small town.However, Anne does come to trust Hartmann and reveals dreadful secrets from her past.A thoroughly engrossing and engaging novel.more
Whew! I finally managed to finish a work of actual literary fiction, after a glut of mysteries and other escapist fare. Readers nostalgic for the tone and sensibility of Flaubert should find this slim, but rich novel to their liking.more
Such a good writer. Set completely in France it follows the a period in the life of a young girl with a tragic past.more
I do enjoy a good Faulks melodrama. I just made the big mistake of reading his "Birdsong" first! But "The Girl at the Lion D'or" has its merits. Faulks sweeping, evocative prose is still there. Sometimes a girl just needs a melancholy book! It is easier to read than "Birdsong", easier to enjoy, it's just easier to forget. I never felt for Anne the way I felt for Birdsong's Isabelle, and certainly Charles was nothing in comparison with Stephen. Ah well. It was a good story with good characters in their own right, now on to "Charlotte Gray"...more
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Reviews

A beautifully written love story set in the small town of Jainvilliers in 1935-36 against a background of political upheaval as M Blum's government stumbles from crisis to crisis while Hitler's Germany reoccupies the Rhineland.The principal characters are Anne, a beautiful young woman fleeing a tragic past and Charles Hartmann, a successful and married advocate and landowner. The novel opens with Anne arriving by train from Paris to take up a position as waitress at the Lion d'Or Inn in Jainvilliers. The bizarre and menacing concierge, Mme Bouin, tersely welcomes her and issues an extensive list of house rules and duties, and Anne is pitched in at the deep end.She meets Charles Hartmann early on and is almost immediately besotted. He reciprocates her feelings, though perhaps less suddenly, and their tentative relationship commences.Faulks captures the barrenness of a Anne's day to day routine marvellously, making the reader feel the tedium of her daily chores and the long periods of boredom attendant upon waiting tables in a small provincial inn. Hartmann takes her away from that, but only for brief periods - after all, he is married and anxious to avoid scandal within a small town.However, Anne does come to trust Hartmann and reveals dreadful secrets from her past.A thoroughly engrossing and engaging novel.more
Whew! I finally managed to finish a work of actual literary fiction, after a glut of mysteries and other escapist fare. Readers nostalgic for the tone and sensibility of Flaubert should find this slim, but rich novel to their liking.more
Such a good writer. Set completely in France it follows the a period in the life of a young girl with a tragic past.more
I do enjoy a good Faulks melodrama. I just made the big mistake of reading his "Birdsong" first! But "The Girl at the Lion D'or" has its merits. Faulks sweeping, evocative prose is still there. Sometimes a girl just needs a melancholy book! It is easier to read than "Birdsong", easier to enjoy, it's just easier to forget. I never felt for Anne the way I felt for Birdsong's Isabelle, and certainly Charles was nothing in comparison with Stephen. Ah well. It was a good story with good characters in their own right, now on to "Charlotte Gray"...more
I have read and enjoyed a number of Faulks' novels (i.e. not just Birdsong...) and yet for some reason, after my dad passed on a 'spare' copy he had acquired somehow, I allowed it to languish on my shelves in our apartment, moved house and allowed it to languish some more (approximately one year) on my new shelves in our house. I definitely enjoyed all of Faulks' other books but this one just never grabbed me. I have no clue why. Having finally read it, I have absolutely no clue why!There are so many reasons why this book is so much more than it seems but it largely comes down to some superb characterisation and exceptionally sensitive writing. I don't remember reading a book with characters that felt so real - I found that each character was a complex blend of admirable qualities and flaws, just like they should be. Take Anne, for example. I started the book feeling almost protective towards her because she appeared so frail. Her fragility is something I felt continued and yet she avoids being a stereotype because her clear issues with love and trust. There were times when she demonstrated a remarkable strength and then others when I just wanted to shake her and drum some self-awareness and self-respect into her.The most poignant moments for me, however, were those featuring Clare, Charles' suffering wife. Her private heartbreak and stoicism are devastating to read, sidelined as they are and revealed every so often through the eyes of Clare herself. For a character who is involved so little, she adds a balance to the story that tempers the eager tone of Anne. Ordinarily in stories with love triangles, the author takes the easy route and makes 'the wife' almost to blame for some reason. You know the type: the unfeeling/absent/non-Stepford wives who are peripheral and allow us to suspend our moral fibre just enough to believe that the 'true' love of the protaganists isn't wrong, somehow, but virtuous.Interestingly, there are also some political thoughts and historical notes intertwined too and the era shows through most in the post-war sense of life and freedom that seeps into the character of Charles. For the most part it works but occasionally I found myself reading something that I felt wasn't quite made relevant and made a conversation stilted. Its great as a support to the characters' situations though and only serves to make the story more real.Overall: This novel is outstanding - not necessarily because of the plot but because the characters are achingly well drawn and I found myself utterly believing in them. There are entertaining moments and some heartbreaking ones. This is very much a book about people and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an intense look at shattering love.more
It reminded me of Rebecca meets Madame Bouvary. This lonely pathetic girl who wistfully waits for her beau - in this case, the very married and spineless Charles. Unlike Rebecca who finally takes life into her hands, Anne just lets life happen to her and then wonders why she's so unhappy. Boohoo Anne.more
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