The Echo Of A Scandal by Laura Madeleine September 19th 2019
The sumptuous and seductive world of Tangier in the early 20th century is a world where men make decisions and women follow. But Alejandra is determined to secure her independence, at any cost. In the dead of night, with blood on her hands, she made her escape. Accused of murder, Alejandra flees her home, escaping to the southern edge of Spain, where she faces a life of poverty and destitution.
Seduced by the power of the rich and the anonymity that waits across the water in Tangier, Ale makes a bid for a new start. But it will come at a cost: a life of deception. Because Ale’s new friends want to know what she is running from, they want to know who she is and whether they can trust her.
Fifty years later, a young American writer wanders the streets of Tangier, searching for inspiration. When he stumbles across a trace of Ale’s life, he finds himself tangled in a story of scandal, love and danger that has not yet reached its end.
The first thing that struck me about An Echo Of A Scandal was it’s wonderful sense of place. You could feel the heat of a dry arid Tangier, the bustle and crush of the busy Casbah, a melting pot of intrigue and passion.
By passion I don’t necessarily mean love, although there was that element, but it was passion for a story, for seeking out the truth, for a love of cooking and good food.
Madeleine took us back to to the 20’s to a young girl, Alejandra, her life as a cook in a house of disrepute, a murder that would see her flee to Tangier to the intrigue and glamour of a wealthy Englishman. I loved the twist Madeleine gave to Ale’s character, a unique approach that added that extra frisson of mystery to her novel. The interactions between characters, passerby’s were instantly more interesting, their actions different from the norm although it is hard to explain without revealing too much!
Ale, was tough, resilient, a strong woman who faced upto adversity with ingenuity and at times bravery.
As Madeleine flipped effortlessly from the 20’s to the 70’s she introduced us to aspiring author Sam. A man lost in the world, financially bereft as he fought to remain in Tangier. It was his investigation into Ale’s life that gave him a purpose, made him grow up, appreciate what he had. There were similarities between himself and Ale, both found strength and determination in adversity and an unfailing determination to succeed.
Madeleine’s narrative was wonderful, sumptuous in its descriptions of Tangier and in particular the food so lovingly prepared by Ale. I loved the correlation between the types of food and events that Ale created, the way it was used to steer actions in a certain direction to affect the people who ate it.
There was a veritable web of intrigue and mystery, the atmosphere always tense and exciting, the reader never knowing which way the author would take them next.
Madeleine always managed to touch on the characters emotions amongst the corrupt and murderous world they found themselves in. You found yourself hoping Ale and Sam would find that happy ending that resolution and truth that they so desperately sought.
An Echo Of A Scandal was I novel I loved, Madeleine proving once again that she is an excellent storyteller.
I would like to thank Transworld for a copy of An Echo Of A Scandal to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura Madeleine changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge. She now writes fiction, as well as recipes, and was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon, eating cheese and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom.