Restless is a beautifully written novel told from the points of view of its main characters, Emilie and Guy, as well as some of the side characters. The first thing I noticed when reading Restless was the exquisite prose that covered each page. I felt like I was floating over the characters as I followed them on their journies.
After young Emilie loses both of her parents in a train wreck, she decides to run away from her aunt’s house, knowing that she is probably not wanted there. She leaves behind her brother Henri and becomes a vagabond gypsy living on the streets of Paris. Sleeping on warmed grates at night and eating stale bread, Emilie’s lively spirit keeps the story interesting and intriguing. This young woman, who once had everything at her disposal, is now desolate. But Emilie doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she takes in her surroundings. And in doing so, she meets Guy, a man who purchases some wilted roses from her. Emilie is drawn to this man and ends up following him home. She imagines what this man’s life is like and knocks on his door only to be rejected. But little does she know, she has made an impression on Guy, and he becomes a bit manic in wondering where this free-spirited waif has come from.
Readers will follow Emilie back through time as she thinks about her Maman, Papa, brother Henri, and favorite housemaid, Babette. These memories haunt her with every breath, and although to outsiders, she could be a girl born on the streets, Emilie has engrained within her the fine etiquette and skill of the upper class. She puts together found items and fabrics to create a corsetless dress for herself that could be mistaken for couture. As the story progresses and Emilie and Guy form a relationship, there is still an uneasy feeling between the two. It is clear they do not trust one another as they both have their guards up all the time.
Author Alicia Cahalane Lewis does a fine job developing each character so her readers can feel the same emotions and angst as their worlds collide and crumble repeatedly. The contrast between the life Simone and Jon (Emilie’s parents) raised her in to the life she is currently living is an ode to the human spirit. Had her parents not perished, would Emilie have still found a way to become a free-spirited gypsy?
Restless is a thought-provoking story with themes of love, loss, unknowing, sorrow, grief, freedom, life choices, and of course, restlessness.
|Alicia Cahalane Lewis
|Tattered Script Publishing
|Buy this Book