(I received a free copy of The Balcony from the publisher, Little, Brown, and Company, to write an honest review on The Silver Petticoat Review. I did not receive compensation for this post and all opinions are my own.)
From the publisher:
What if our homes could tell the stories of others who lived there before us? Set in a small village near Paris, The Balcony follows the inhabitants of a single estate-including a manor and a servants’ cottage-over the course of several generations, from the Belle Époque to the present day, introducing us to a fascinating cast of characters.
A young American au pair develops a crush on her brilliant employer. An ex-courtesan shocks the servants, a Jewish couple in hiding from the Gestapo attract the curiosity of the neighbors, and a housewife begins an affair while renovating her downstairs. Rich and poor, young and old, powerful and persecuted, all of these people are seeking something: meaning, love, a new beginning, or merely survival.
Throughout, cross-generational connections and troubled legacies haunt the same spaces, so that the rose garden, the forest pond, and the balcony off the manor’s third floor bedroom become silent witnesses to a century of human drama.
The Balcony Book Review
In her debut, The Balcony, author Jane Delury delivers haunting stories of love and regret. The Balcony centers around a manor located in a forgotten suburb of Paris. The town is not what you would expect from a small village in France. In fact, Benneville is quite the opposite. The town is ugly. Delury takes great pains to describe it as unremarkable. It is the antithesis of Paris. In my mind, this translated to the discontent of the characters.
Delury’s writing is lyrical. It is warm and inviting. Comforting, too. These stories focus on emotion. The characters feel intensely. In some stories, nostalgia dominates. Occasionally, regrets hold sway. In all of them, there is a sense of resignation. The narratives flow gently. It wanders at times, from one point to the next. Consequently, you have the sense you are peeking into someone’s most private thoughts. At times, I felt like I was reading someone’s diary. Or, sitting at my mother’s knee and listening to stories of her youth.
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The stories are not told in order. That is to say, the book jumps around in time. This can get confusing. Especially when trying to keep track of character connections. However, it does not distract from the emotional beats of the story. In fact, it makes the book more dream-like. Furthermore, it heightens the intensity of the characters feelings. I found that moving around in time gave the stories more impact.
Deeply intimate, The Balcony is a beautifully written book. Exquisite, even. It is poignant and unabashedly honest. The Balcony is perfect to cuddle up with over a rainy weekend. You won’t want to put it down!
The Balcony is available at your favorite bookseller, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Google Books.
For more about author Jane Delury, visit her website here.
“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.”