Release date: 07/05/2020
Links to buy this book:
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2NfEyqD
Finding the one is only the beginning...
1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. But both know their lives will never be the same.
1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – but the way they feel is so familiar...
Over the course of thirty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?
‘So, you like Monet?’
‘I don’t know anything about Monet.’
‘Why do you have the book then? Do you like art?’
‘I like Bartholdi and Viollet-le-Duc if that counts.’
‘Never heard of them,’ the boy said in a low, timid voice.
‘I’m not surprised. They’re not as famous as painters are, for instance.’
‘Yes, I love painters. Well, I mean I love paintings. Mostly by Monet. I like Cezanne too. Degas, sometimes. Pissarro. Manet less. Renoir is okay too. And Toulouse-Lautrec—’
He spoke so fast. She stopped him. ‘Can I have it back now?’
‘Oh, sorry, of course.’
Zara stretched out her arms just a bit and felt the edges of the book. He let go of it.
‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘You’re not from around here, are you? Your accent—’
‘I’m from New York. But I go to school in Switzerland.’
Apart from Paris, New York was her favorite city in the whole world even if, just like Paris, she had never seen it. She knew everything about it. New York was every artist’s dream. The skyscrapers, the fantastic architecture, the bridges, the statues, the parks. She had read many books about the city and even more about the statue.
‘You’re lucky. I’ve always wanted to visit New York. Maybe one day. I’m fascinated with Liberty Enlightening the World,’ she said in one breath.
‘Enlightening what?’ he asked tentatively.
‘The statue. The Statue of Liberty. That’s what it was initially called. Did you know the mastermind behind it lived here, in Colmar? The old town is filled with his sculptures and fountains. They’re magnificent.’
‘No, I didn’t know that,’ he said.
‘Yes, Colmar is not just a pretty small town on the Alsatian wine route. But let’s keep it between us because if word gets out, this place will be swarming with tourists.’
He chuckled, and her heart fluttered. She tried imagining what the face of a boy with such beautiful laughter looked like. She wondered if you could like someone without seeing them, without knowing anything about them. There was something about him. Something that made her feel things she’d never felt before.
‘Too late. I’m a tourist, so your secret is out. Tell me about this man who built the statue.’
‘He didn’t build it; he designed it. You know who built it? Gustave Eiffel, the same man who made the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Don’t feel bad, not a lot of people know this.’
‘But you do,’ he said. ‘Hey, you never answered my question.’
‘The painting. Is it here?’
‘I’m afraid not,’ she said. ‘In Paris, perhaps. Like I said, I am not that good with—’
‘Paintings,’ he said and chuckled. ‘Apparently neither am I.’ He sounded disappointed. ‘Well, at least I tried.’
‘Did you come all the way from Switzerland for this? What’s so special about it?’ Maybe there was something about Impression, Sunrise that would explain her dream.
‘It belongs to my family.’
‘Really? Then how come you don’t know where it is?’
‘My mother says that everything worthwhile is at least a little bit complicated. Besides, I’m in no rush. Tell me,’ she said, sitting on the floor next to him.
She forgot about the watchdog, about getting caught. It didn’t seem to matter anymore.
‘Alright then. Claude Monet made four identical Impression, Sunrise paintings. One he signed, the other three he kept secret and gave to his closest friends – among them, my great-grandfather. Years later, during World War II, the painting was stolen from our family’s house in Newport.’
‘And someone told you it might be in Colmar?’ asked Zara.
‘Not exactly. No. I just – I felt I had to come here. Not sure why. I saw the signs pointing to the museum, and here I am.’
‘I’m sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for,’ she said.
About the author:
Olivia’s love for words started as a child when she spent all her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former investigative journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Romania, now a Marketing Director in Silicon Valley - in between she lived in Paris where her love for the Alsace region was born.