Michele Phoenix’s Tangled Ashes is an appealing story of two dissimilar worlds that ultimately intersect. While the majority of the story unfolds in modern day France, Phoenix does a skillful job intertwining the historical elements of the account.
The Tangled Ashes Prologue opens during the Nazi occupation of Lamorlaye, France. Anticipating liberation by the Allies, the German Army is in the midst of a frenzied exodus from their Lebensborn. Under cover of darkness a brave young French woman, Marie, attempts a daring rescue of a baby born to the Reich. The book unwraps the story of the Marie, her connection to the baby, the Reich and eventually how they all correlate with the contemporary version.
Readers are first introduced to the bad-tempered protagonist, Marshall Becker at his architecture firm in the States. Unbeknownst to him, his business partner has obligated him to a months long castle renovation in France. Becker is less than thrilled at prospect of the project, but begrudgingly acquiesces. A self-imposed loner, Becker arrives in France to find himself surrounded by the skilled but brusque interior decorator on the project, the jovial castle owner, two precocious six year olds and their astute nanny, Jade. The story provides several elements of intrigue: JoJo, the squatter living in the castle’s depilated stables, questions about Jade’s health, Becker’s struggle with alcoholism and a mysterious intruder on the castle grounds. Elements of the story will appeal to readers with an interest in World War II, Europe, or architecture.
The story takes an unexpected twist when revealing JoJo’s story along with the identity of the baby Marie fought diligently to rescue. The final pages leave sufficient loose ends to allow for a future book about Becker and Jade should the author so choose. The book is a well-written and captivating story that I would highly recommend.
In return for this post, the reviewer was provided with a free copy of Tangled Ashes by Handlebar Publishing.