Firstly I wish to thank Charlie Howell Marketing Coordinator of Olympia Publishers for inviting me to read and review this book, OH MY ATRIUM by Sarah Dufrasne.
Bulgaria, June 2003. One year after leaving unexpectedly, Zora comes back home with the ambitious project to turn the family mansion into a rest home. But a fire burns the dwelling to the ground, and causes her dream to abort… in Bulgaria…
In early December, Zora, Iva her foster mother, Igor the housekeeper and two Romanian handymen hit the road down to Montalis, a pocket-sized French Pyrenean village, mainly inhabited by a Mayor, a bartender and his twins, a psychiatrist, and two monster dogs.
The team immediately starts renovating the new abode, an Atrium summerhouse inherited by Iva, until worrisome occurrences in the woods come dimming their perspectives. These plus a woman missing and recurrent nightmares finally convince Iva to pay a visit to the Mayor, but what she inquisitively discovers in his basement bewilders her even more…
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
I found this book a little strange to read in the beginning as it is set out more like a play. The person speaking was put first, then what they said. I made it a little bit more confusing to me as I listen to books, but I gradually got into the swing of it. Don’t let this put you off because this strange tale has a very dark and disturbing edge to it.
The story begins in Nova Cherna Bulgaria and the return of the prodigal daughter, Zora, coming home some years after disappearing. Her mother and father simply got up one morning and she had gone. She returned home as if she had just nipped to the shops for bread. After training as a nurse she is buzzing with the prospect of turning part of the family home into a rest home. After a terrible disaster with the mansion burning down she and a small group of family and friends set off for the Family Summer house in Montalis in France.
Now I know that some communities are small but this on consists of only a handful of residents which include a Mayor, a doctor and a pub. The place requires a tremendous amount of work and so the very strange locals soon become part of the story.
Now when I said strange I do mean there is something that makes you feel a bit edgy. Zora’s mum Iva soon begins to hear disturbing noises in the night, then there are the dogs which I would want to keep my distance from, well one in particular. Just getting a little shiver here.
Sarah Dufrasne, the author, just gently slides into your mind without you knowing with what at first seems like an ordinary bunch of folk determined to make a go of a cracking project idea in a peaceful setting. Yes there are fallouts and an odd thing happening here and there but well this is an isolated place so the locals may not be keen on the invasion.
Then bloody hell, what a take off! I was like whoa! Is this happening? Is he really asking her to do that? OMG. Now this is good stuff, shocking, dark and I can’t read it quick enough now. My heart was in my mouth. Where is everyone? Are they safe? Do I really want to know because I have got to know these characters, I want them all to be safe. This isn’t just a fight for life or death, there is much worse things to face then death.
I don’t think that I will ever put my hand on a door handle again without thinking first about what could be behind it. Do take a look at this book, it really does get you.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Graduated as a translator, Sarah Dufrasne is an administrative employee in Brussels, Belgium. When her daughter, Alice was born, she felt a desperate urge to contribute to a better world. Her contribution soon materialized under the form of a literary adventure, ‘Oh my Atrium’. Through the many epic developments that it relates, the inherent interactions and respective choices of the characters emphasize how friendship, love, familial bond, nature-friendly and positive attitudes can defeat the vicissitudes of life, and bring the most auspicious outcomes.