Meet the Ocelots: Overture

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Meet the Ocelots series of posts. I’m completing the line-up this week by telling you a little about my novel, Overture, and about my character Frédéric Grandcourt, who’s the subject of an interview next week in our character interview blog hop. Look out for further news on that.

Overture is the first in a trilogy, spanning the period 1897 to 1945 and set mostly in France. Both World War I and World War II will feature prominently in the books. Here’s the blurb:

She has a unique talent, but everything conspires against her dreams.

France, 1897. Born to a modest farming family, Marie-Thérèse has a remarkable singing voice and wants to become a professional singer. But too many obstacles, including her parents’ opposition, stand in her way. And, through no fault of her own, she makes a dangerous enemy of the local landlord.

When the family circumstances change suddenly, Marie-Thérèse and her mother must move to Paris to work in her aunt’s restaurant. Her ambitions rekindle, but the road to success is paved with setbacks until a chance meeting gives her a precious opportunity.

She is close to achieving all her dreams, but the ghosts of the past come back to haunt her and threaten Marie-Thérèse’s life as well as her career.

Frédéric

Frédéric is not the protagonist in Overture, but he’s one of the main characters, and he’ll play an important role in the two subsequent books in the trilogy. He doesn’t actually appear until almost halfway through Overture, when Marie-Thérèse is in Paris, but his relationship with her and his influence on her life are crucial to the story.

Frédéric harbours a secret, which emerges in Book 1, and which will also come back to haunt him in the later books. It almost destroys his relationship with Marie-Thérèse. No, I’m not going to tell you what it is!

The two characters’ backgrounds couldn’t be more different. They come from different social milieus: Marie-Thérèse is the daughter of peasant farmers, while Frédéric is the son of a bourgeois family. They come from opposite ends of the country: he’s from Normandy, while she hails from the southern area of Aveyron. And she has had to leave school at 13 to help her parents on the farm, while he has enjoyed a cultured and extensive education. And yet they develop a lifelong bond.

I’ll admit that I’m rather in love with Frédéric. He’s charming without being two-faced, witty and sensitive. He’s a little bit of a snob, but he has a lot to teach Marie-Thérèse about life if she is to succeed in her ambitions to become a singer.

Overture’s setting

A word about the setting. The novel starts in Aveyron, an area in southern France, and, although the action moves to Paris, it often moves back to Aveyron.

I’ve lived in France since 1997, and Aveyron is not far away. It’s an undiscovered part of France with stunning scenery, picturesque towns and villages, a strong rural tradition and a fascinating history.

The market square in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Aveyron, which appears in Overture.
The Pont des Consuls over the River Aveyron, from which the area takes its name
The immense 13th-century collégiale (cathedral), which towers over the market square in Villefranche-de-Rouergue

I hope my love of the place and my knowledge of its history and customs come through in Overture.

Cathie Dunn will interview Frédéric on her blog next week. We’ll keep you posted about all the interviews, so stay tuned.

Copyright © Ocelot Press 2019. All rights reserved.   

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