At the end of July looking forward to my two week holiday in France I picked up Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law by Michelle Granas as something a little bit different. Previously I have, in the majority, read historical and fantasy fiction while I thought a thriller might be good for my holiday. I ended up spending my first week in France reading this.
Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law follows Cordelia a woman who up until the start of this story has led a quiet and sheltered life with her oddball family in an old suburb of Warsaw, Poland. On a trip to see an elderly relative with her father Cordelia’s life is to be turned upside down. Their car gets stuck in mud and when a stranger (with a strangely familiar face) helps them out Cordelia is unwittingly pulled into helping this stranger elude the authority, dodge hungry journalists, fight injustice and perhaps find love along the way. That stranger is in fact Zaremba a wealthy businessman who has been accused by the government of bribing officials but Zaremba protests his innocence and will do almost anything to prove it. Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law while being a thoroughly enjoyable thriller is also a wonderful glimpse into the society and politics of Poland which is something I had known nothing about before.
The protagonists of Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law Cordelia and Zaremba are characters I really enjoyed reading about. Cordelia has led a very sheltered life due to her physical disability but also the pressure from her family to stay and care for them. Cordelia isn’t the obvious choice for a hero but that is why I love her. Cordelia lives with a severe physical disability whilst also caring for her agoraphobic brother, demanding father and a mother who is suffering with Alzheimer’s; that is one loving and strong person in my book. I thought it was wonderful to watch Cordelia come out of shell and comfort zone to reach her full potential. Zaremba is rich, successful and extremely confident; I didn’t always like him but he is certainly fascinating to read about. There is more to Zaremba than meets the eye and I think Cordelia brings out the best bits in him and they compliment each other well.
Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law is the first novel I have read by Michelle Granas. I think it is well written with good description and a nice pace. While this is a thriller Granas doesn’t use gratuitous violence or allow the action to take over completely. Instead Granas uses violence when it is needed and takes the time to share information and quotes about Polish society and politics which I found fascinating. I must admit that before reading this I knew little to nothing about Polish society, politics or history (bar World War II). Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law I feel was not only written to entertain but to also inform; both of which I think Granas does well. I initially picked this up as I was looking for something a little different and that is exactly what I got. I found the story, characters, setting and background of Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law pleasantly refreshing.
Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law is an interesting and refreshing drama about the political intrigues of Poland. I recommend to those interested in thrillers, politics and stories set in Poland.
Thank you to the author for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read this? Or something else set in Poland?