Title: Lost and Found
Author: Liv Rancourt
Length: 265 Pages
Category: Historical Romance, Mystery
At a Glance: Good mystery, wonderful romance, captivating setting. Oh—and, gorgeous cover! Such good stuff.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: A dancer who cannot dance and a doctor who cannot heal find in each other the strength to love.
History books will call it The Great War, but for Benjamin Holm, that is a misnomer. The war is a disaster, a calamity, and it leaves Benjamin profoundly wounded, his mind and memory shattered. A year after Armistice, still struggling to regain his mental faculties, he returns to Paris in search of his closest friend, Elias.
Benjamin meets Louis Donadieu, a striking and mysterious dance master. Though Louis is a difficult man to know, he offers to help Benjamin. Together they search the cabarets, salons, and art exhibits in the newly revitalized city on the brink of les années folles (the Crazy Years). Almost despite himself, Benjamin breaches Louis’s defenses, and the two men discover an unexpected passion.
As his memory slowly returns, Benjamin will need every ounce of courage he possesses to recover Elias’s story. He and Louis will need even more than that to lay claim to the love – and the future – they deserve.
Review: The year is 1920. The Great War has been over for about a year, but it still feels all too fresh to Dr. Benjamin Holm. After spending some time in the American hospital in Paris, Benji went back home to Vermont for a brief time, but as soon as he was able, he left for Europe once again, determined to find his childhood best friend, Elias. Benji hasn’t seen Eli since the war ended, but they always agreed to meet in Paris, so he scours the city day after day with a picture of Elias, hoping for a breakthrough. The search is difficult, though, because there are so many holes in Benji’s memory, and he becomes less sure from one moment to the next when the last time he saw Elias was, and what happened during the huge gaps of time he’s missing.
Louis Donadieu, Benjamin’s downstairs neighbor, often sees Benji sitting at the café on the corner or wandering home after long days looking for his friend. With a little push from their landlady, Mme Beatrice, Louis begrudgingly decides to help Benji with his search, and begins taking him to places around the city that Americans frequent, or where people might have seen Elias. He tries to be patient with Benji, but he sometimes grows frustrated with Benji’s seeming obtuseness about his true feelings for Elias, or with his drinking, or his unwillingness to acknowledge the true nature of their situation. In other words, Louis wants to kick Benji in the ass on occasion!
As Benji gets closer to filling in those gaps in his memory, and we get closer to finding out what happened to Eli, Benji and Louis also grow closer, and Benji must start acknowledging his feelings and his true inclinations. At first Benjamin is confused by his reactions to Louis, ashamed and alarmed at his thoughts and feeling about the handsome and intriguing man. But, once they start down that path, he realizes how natural it feels, and how much he is dreading going back home and having to shut that part of himself off again.
Lost and Found—my first book by Liv Rancourt—is a gorgeous novel, and one I’m so glad to have read. Rancourt is an exceptional storyteller, with an obvious knack for placing the reader firmly in the moment. She did an amazing job of setting every single scene and rooting me completely in 1920 post-war Paris. The language, the clothes, the places, the mannerisms and dialogue…I could vividly picture every exchange between the characters, every cafe, cabaret, park, street, etc. Her character development was also very good, but I would have loved a bit more backstory for Louis. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that grumpy Parisian dancer big time—but, I did want a little more history. Rancourt also did an excellent job portraying Benji’s PTSD. His memory gaps, and frustration with those missing pieces, led him to reading some medical texts about shell shock, and speaking to his doctor, and former commander, and it was fascinating how that all played out.
All in all, this was a solid read. I adored Louis and Benji. I loved Benji’s little “found family” in Paris, and how Mme Beatrice looked out for everyone. And, the mystery of what happened to Elias was the thread running throughout. Good mystery, wonderful romance, captivating setting. Oh—and, gorgeous cover! Such good stuff. Definitely recommend, guys.
You can buy Lost and Found here:
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