“From the country mansions of 1930s Ireland, to the decadence of 1940s wartime Paris to the courtrooms of London in modern times.”
Admittedly not a book I would have immediately picked but I received a copy of The Footman from a friend of mine. Published in 2015 by Poolbeg it is an Irish story with a very international flavour.
The book opens in 1988 London in a courtroom setting with the barrister Joseph Grady in action. We get a look into the unhappiness of the life that Joseph, now in his 60s, leads, until a newspaper article he reads changes everything. The article is based on a ‘sensational crime’ that took place in the 1940s involving Cassandra Fullerton. She was the daughter of Cliffenden House, the house in which Joseph began his working career as a footman in 1930s Ireland.
The story then jumps back to 1937…..a very different world….a world of money & wealth. A story of a world on the brink of another war but still enjoying the gin-soaked parties of the time. We are brought into the lives of the Fullerton Family through the eyes of Joseph, a doe-eyed country boy with his first job in this sparkling world of glitz & glamour.
But….all is not as is seems. There is a love story throughout this book between Cassie & Bowden Grey, a local but unsuitable match but also a story of the greed & desire of an American banker Wally Stanton who ALWAYS gets what he wants.
I think where this book surprised me & really drew me in was when the story moved to France, specifically Paris, in the 1940s. We get a very good insight into the German occupation & the effect it had, not just on the poverty stricken, but also on the wealthy. The fear Cassie has in Paris, for her life & that of her friends, is palpable.
The story does take a dramatic twist in Paris & we are once again back in London in the 1980s.
In the meantime, Joseph Grady, with a keen mind, studies hard & over the years becomes a very reputable barrister. He now is a man of means. He has made some decisions in his earlier life that changed the lives of many people forever, that changed the life of Cassie Fullerton, that led to murder.
It is now up to Joseph to try to make amends for these decisions in the way he knows best…..in the courtroom!!
Read it & find out yourself what happens!!!
It is a lovely read, a very satisfying and fulfilling read. A read worthy of putting on that kettle, finding a cosy armchair & taking time out.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Til next time.