'Intelligent, insightful, enlightening and gripping' ML Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
When fire devastates Turney House, London's finest stately home, the immaculate Lady Alexandra Marchant demands that everything be restored exactly as it was `the day before the fire'. Every charred remnant must be salvaged. Even the famous chandelier will be pieced back together into a flawless reconstruction.
But is it possible, or even desirable, to resurrect the past? And why do we care so much about it? Critics say the restored Turney can never be more than an elegant fake; Lady Alexandra Marchant says Turney's doors, its cafe and gift shop, must be re-opened to the paying public as soon as possible.
Ros Freeman is called in as part of the effort, to Turney's tented village of carvers, gilders, plasterers and stonemasons. Ros loves her work as a paper restorer. She considers herself an expert in uncovering the past, layer by layer, to bring out the truth. And yet in her personal life there are corners, shadows, ghosts, she fails to see. Until a discovery in Turney's Rose Room challenges her to look again.
Miranda France is a writer and translator. The author of two highly acclaimed travel books, Bad Times in Buenos Aires and Don Quixote's Delusions, she has won the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. She has translated Argentine writers including Alberto Manguel, Claudia Pineiro and Liliana Heker. She grew up on a farm not unlike the farm that featured in her first novel, That Summer at Hill Farm, but now lives in London with her husband and two children. The Day Before the Fire is her second novel.