Book Review – Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew by Susan Fletcher…

Provence, May 1889. The hospital of Saint-Paul-de Mausole is home to the mentally ill. An old monastery, it sits at the foot of Les Alpilles mountains amongst wheat fields, herbs and olive groves. For years, the fragile have come here and lived quietly, found rest behind the shutters and high, sun-baked walls. 
Tales of the new arrival – his savagery, his paintings, his copper-red hair – are quick to find the warden’s wife. From her small white cottage, Jeanne Trabuc watches him – how he sets his easel amongst the trees, the irises and the fields of wheat, and paints in the heat of the day. 
Jeanne knows the rules; she knows not to approach the patients at Saint-Paul. But this man – paint-smelling, dirty, troubled and intense – is, she thinks, worth talking to. So ignoring her husband’s wishes, the dangers and despite the word mad, Jeanne climbs over the hospital wall. She will find that the painter will change all their lives.
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This book starts in a beautifully descriptive way. One can close one’s eyes and just picture being stood next to Jeanne and working with her. The words are incredibly evocative and emotive.
The story takes us through the life of a woman who is changing and fighting against what her life has become. She visits the Dutchman and continues to after her husband forbade it. He gives her a sense of purpose and fire that she never did before.
The writer has created pictures painted with words, as she does with every book.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and The Little Brown Book Group (UK) for my copy of this book.

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