Charlotte GrayPosted: 2014/07/08
Faulks, Sebastian. Charlotte Gray. New York: Vintage International, 1998.
Charlotte Gray is a independent Scottish woman determined to make a difference in the effort to liberate France during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Starting out as a receptionist for a doctor in London, she quickly realizes she is meant for bigger and better things after she meets RAF pilot Peter Gregory. Falling hopelessly in love with him after a short yet passionate affair, she is determined to find him after his plane goes down behind enemy lines. Dyeing her hair and assuming a new identity is only the beginning for Charlotte, especially after she assumes the role of live-in housemaid to an ailing and eccentric Jewish artist. Throughout Charlotte’s search for Peter she is faced with many harsh realities about war and her own past. The big mystery is whether or not she will find peace or Peter or both.
Quotes I liked, “It’s the normalcy of everything that seems so treacherous” (p 161) and “Memory is the only thing that binds you to earlier selves; for the rest you become an entirely different being every decade or so, sloughing off the old persona, renewing and moving on” (p 379).
Reason read: to continue Faulks’s story (started with Birdsong in June).
Author fact: at the time of Charlotte Gray’s publishing, Faulks lived in London, England.
Book trivia: Even though Charlotte Gray ends the trilogy, it could be read independent of The Girl at Lion d’Or and Birdsong. Even though minor characters are the same, the story lines are different enough. However, the mention of Stephen Wraysford was like meeting an old friend in a foreign city.
Another book trivia: Charlotte Gray won the “Bad Sex” award but I happen to think the sex in Birdsong was more titillating.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Sex and the Single Reader” (p 219). Charlotte Gray was lumped into the final paragraph because it was nominated for Britain’s annual Literary Review Best Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Faulks won in 1998.