A High and Hidden Place: A Novel

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9780060740566: A High and Hidden Place: A Novel

Christine Lenoir's early childhood memories are vague. Told that her family perished of influenza, she grows up in the aftermath of World War II believing herself fortunate that her parents at least did not die violently, as so many did, and because she found a good and loving home. But after she witnesses the live telecast of Lee Harvey Oswald's murder, strange dreams and terrifying images begin to plague her. As her faint recollectionsof the horrors of her childhood become stronger, Christine embarks on a quest to discover what her visions mean. She ultimately unearths a history she never knew existed -- and one the world has largely forgotten. What follows is one woman's journey to the ruins of a small town called Oradour to find her truth and to reconcile her belief in God with the horrifying acts perpetrated against her family.

A High and Hidden Place is also a journey back to a day unlike any other -- June 10, 1944 -- when the citizens of a quiet French village were simply leading their lives, unaware that in a matter of hours they would meet their terrible fate.

At its heart, A High and Hidden Place is not only an unforgettable meditation on the aftermath of war, it is also the story of a young woman's search for her family, her beloved mother, and the history that continues to haunt us all.

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About the Author:

Michele Claire Lucas has lived in Hong Kong and France and currently resides in New York. A former magazine photo editor, she is now a full-time writer. This is her first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

While watching television in the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination, journalist Christine Lenoir witnesses Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald. This traumatic experience opens the floodgates of memory, causing her to wonder what in her sheltered French childhood could have produced such shadowy images of gunshots, fire and death. Raised by nuns since the age of six, Christine has always believed that her parents died in an influenza epidemic, but as she gradually pieces her childhood together, she learns that her family members were killed in the June 10, 1944, massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane, a French village just outside of Limoges. On that day, German soldiers rounded up 642 men, women and children in the village and killed them for no apparent reason. Lucas, a first-time novelist, does a fine job of blending her extensive research into Oradour's history with the story of the fictional character Christine, who escaped the massacre because she was playing in the woods. At times, the novel's shifting time frames can be disorienting, switching too often between the present in 1964, the wartime massacre nearly twenty years before, and the near past in 1963. However, the characterizations are haunting, and readers will feel compelled to turn the pages to find out whether Christine will be able to heal from the terrible burden of knowing her family's fate. In particular, Lucas does an outstanding job of weaving Catholic themes and faith through the book, daring to ask the unanswerable, age-old questions about God, suffering and the human capacity for evil.
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