Blood Wedding: Pierre Lemaitre
Take several memorial candles and light them and watch as the wax slowly dwindles away leaving just a film of what was once a vibrant candle remembering someone you loved. As the candle begins to get smaller and smaller you can barely see the outline of the candle as it falls apart in the glass. Imagine someone whose mind is solid, sharp and crisp falling prey to a disease that takes control of their mind but they never know it. As their candle is about to ignite a flame so strong, stringent and hot, the end result as it takes hold, begins to spread will overpower your mind, your body and soul until you no longer know where you are or even who. Sophie Duguet is about to enter her own form of the Twilight Zone or an episode of an Alfred Hitchcock movie with an unexpected twist at the end. Sophie has no idea about what is happening to her. Every moment from the second you open the first page of this novel and meet her and hear her voice as the author tells it form her point of view you begin to understand that this once sharp and intelligent woman is about to experience a world that will take her to places, times and create events that will not only impact on her but others too. Losing things, unable to remember simple events, times and places she begins to lose touch with more than reality. Her mail, her car is missing she can’t remember where she parked it, not knowing who people are and then detained for shoplifting and not remembering the crime, Sophie enters a world that she will never return from. Dementia is deadly and once it takes over your thoughts and mind it’s just a matter of time before you are no longer cognizant of where you are, people that you know or places that you have been too before. Like quicksand that slowly sinks the person beneath it with no way out Sophie becomes frightened, depressed and when the child she is caring for is murdered is she the killer. Seeing Leo’s body covered in blood rather than call for someone to help her she leaves and finds her way to a train station, screams at someone for stealing her bag and then befriends a young girl who invites her to her home. Veronique allows her to come into her home while Sophie pretends to be an art teacher on vacation visiting her parents. The story seems so solid that the young girl does not suspect anything but the next morning why is she dead. Confused, scared and even more on the run she takes some of Veronique’s clothing and leaves. Things take on a dark turn as Sophie becomes someone else again, gets another job wants fake papers and the cost rises when her true identity comes out but not before there’s another murder.
Then another voice of a mysterious man is heard as we read his journal or diary and the enlightens us about his feelings for Sophie, following her and her husband Vincent and invading her privacy in every way without her knowledge. His innermost thoughts are revealed and the reader wonders if Sophie is really losing her mind or if this person is trying to gaslight her into thinking she is crazy. Misplacing where she parked her car is the first indication that her memory is failing and the fact that he was able to convince the police that he found her purse, move into a building and an apartment near hers and no one is the wiser is frightening. Getting all of her accounts, emails and even bank records lets readers know just how vulnerable we all are to being hacked and having our privacy invaded. Not only does Sophie relocate many times hoping to fun the real Sophie but also so does this mysterious man who has yet to reveal more of his motives.
The stalker is quite illusive and yet the author allows readers to know that Sophie is not totally oblivious to what is happening to her but she can’t prove anything. Using a notebook to jot down things she does not want to forget, not realizing when things are missing that she places in strategic places and yet they disappear, she thinks she is going crazy or losing her mind but is she really? When Vincent goes out and a motorcycle gets him causing him serious injury and a long stay in the hospital, she is more than distraught and later has a miscarriage. The person telling the story is angry that she moved into a house, had to find a way to continue his spying on her but as yet I have not learned why the fatal attraction. Medications tampered with. Gifts misplaced. Her car in the wrong spot and emails that are posted and past dated and a killer that is diabolical and clever yet somehow hiding in plain site.
Sophie decides to join a dating service and meets a young man named Frantz who claims to be in a branch of the service and who at first dotes over Sophie but in reality is the reason why she thinks she is losing her mind. Carefully, methodically and diabolically he plans to take over her mind, body and soul but you won’t believe why or is rationale for singling out Sophie. As he drugs her each day and night and her mind illuminates even more she envisions the death of not only her husband, but Leo and Veronique too. Events spiral out of control as the author takes us deeper inside the mind of Frantz, how he convinces doctors that Sophie needs help, the death of his mother and that of hers linked together and you won’t believe how or why? As you get to know him more and how he created the vision that Sophie killed Leo, Veronique and Vincent you learn about the death of his mother, the wedding dress, her depression and the warning that someday a child would bare the consequences of her depression and anger after losing the daughter she wanted and having a son she loathed. Here the voice of Frantz and read the documents left behind about his mother and realize the link that cemented Sophie’s fate and why he came after her. But, Sophie thinks she killed so many then realizes the truth and decides to take on Frantz herself. Her plan takes time and she too needs to decide just how she will enact her revenge as her father releases certain information, she learns some harsh realities about her mother and the ending is you might say someone gets their just rewards as not only did his mother jump in her wedding dress to her death, the blood all around but the scene that Sophie creates will be emblazed in your mind as the author graphically, vividly and methodically depicts what you might say a very special Blood Wedding that I don’t think you would want to attend.
Within this novel there are two main plots as the author reveals the process by which Sophie’s downfall takes place, her need to relocate, her resourcefulness and the truth behind her loses and victories. Then, in the second half we meet a diabolical psychopath who is bent on destroying her even though in his heart he has fallen for this fragile woman. Does she have two personalities or is it the drugs? What about the killer? Where does his depression and multiple facades come from and where will this take Sophie?
Sophie Duguet lost her mother, her mind, had to escape her life and lost so many that she loved: will the candle that burns within her stay lit or will it dwindle like that of a memorial candle after 24 hours and turn into a ball of wax? Will Sophie regain who she was or will Frantz’s gas lighting her win? A story of hate, revenge, love, disloyalty, depression, fear, hope and one woman who would never give up and decided to survive at all costs no matter the risks to herself or anyone else. Sophie Duguet: Will the demons and nightmares win out or will she see a clear path that will keep her candle burning? The ending will keep you wondering just what Sophie has in mind for herself, the harsh truth behind what she learns about the man she married, his mother and the secrets that are held within documents that could destroy it all. Fires burn. Candles dwindle and someone’s mind will turn into a hot ball of wax.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine