The Girl at the Lion d'Or is the first novel in the French trilogy by Sebastian Faulks, the other two are Birdsong (BCID 5528726 and BCID 5582295), for which Sebastian Faulks is best known, and Charlotte Gray (BCID 5584980).
Set in the mid-1930s, a mystery young girl arrives in a small French town to take up a post at the seedy Hotel du Lion d'Or, from which the book gets its title.
Simmering in the background is the imminent war with Germany, and the memories of the First World War.
The Girl at the Lion d'Or aspires to great literature, but never quite makes it. At times it threatens to descend into romantic fiction, but fortunately never sinks that low.
Sebastian Faulks is no Emile Zola or Honoré de Balzac.
A tragic love affair.
Charles Hartmann, Anne Louvert's lover, one of the two central characters in The Girl at the Lion d'Or, is common to all three novels in the French trilogy.
The Girl at the Lion d'Or evokes shades of 'The Fall of the House of Usher' by Edgar Allan Poe, the tragic love affair an allegorical tale of the end of the Third Republic.
One is left with an empty feeling: what happened to Anne, why was Hartmann so stupid in letting her go, was there something in their past that made their love affair impossible?
The Girl at the Lion d'Or would make a very good film.