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Celestine
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One summer evening in central France, Gillian Tindall went on an errand into a deserted house. There she discovered a cache of letters in various hands, all written to the same woman. In piecing together the life of this extraordinary person, the author rediscovered a vanished village world and a remarkable period in French history. Celestine Chaumette, an innkeeper's daughter, lived from 1844 until 1933. Many changes occurred during her lifetime, but her story has more to do with the persistence of the past than the loss of it, and Gillian Tindall makes use of a number of sources, from archive material to works of literature, to recreate her life and the life of her village.
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It is Gillian Tindall's gift, in her quietly remarkable book, to remind us how much of the past still lives in the present.

About the Author

Gillian Tindall is a master of miniaturist history, making a handful of people, a few places or a dramatic event stand for the much larger picture. Well-known for the quality of her writing and the meticulous nature of her research, she has written highly praised regional histories of Kentish Town (The Fields Beneath), London's Southbank (The House by the Thames) and the Latin Quarter of Paris (Footprints in Paris), as well as prize-winning novels and history. She lives in London.

Reviews

"[A] modest little book, well on its way to becoming a modern classic." -- John Campbell Independent "Rich, satisfying, warm and utterly vivid" Mail on Sunday "A wonderful book... [Her] history is acutely visual... The book is a masterpiece of miniaturist history" Times Literary Supplement "This is history at its most interesting and compelling" Sunday Express "No other living foreign writer has gone deeper into the psyche of rural France" Observer

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