We All Ran into the Sunlight

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We All Ran Into The Sunlight by Natalie Young, book reviewWhen I purchased We All Ran into the Sunlight by Natalie Young, I was trying to find some “proper” books to water down the (virtual) stack of young adult and supernatural fiction I was buying in the Kindle spring sale. Set in France in different time periods of the twentieth century and with a family mystery going on, this sounded just the thing for me.

The novel opens in the 1980s, when a tragedy occurs in the chateau of the Borja family, in the Cevennes region of France. In the present day, Kate Glover becomes fascinated by the chateau and is drawn to it. But her interest in the chateau reawakens the family’s tragedy. The story goes back in time to the late 1940s, when Lucie Borja and her husband moved into the chateau, to provide the background to the story.

When I started reading We All Ran into the Sunlight, I was captivated by the prologue and the tragedy, and was looking forward to unravelling the mystery and finding out what had happened to lead to that day and what happened afterwards. The novel is well written, and has a real sense of place – the village and the chateau are pictured beautifully, helping the reader get a feel for the setting.

However, I began to lose interest after a while. The mystery was not being unravelled, and I was no closer to learning exactly what had happened. I began to find the characters irritating: Lucie in the 1940s is a naive perfectionist, who desperately wants a baby but doesn’t seem to have a problem with the fact that she’s not going to have a baby if she doesn’t let her husband near her; Kate seems like a strong and likeable woman at first, but she is revealed to be indecisive and always changing her life-altering decisions; Sylvie, the daughter of a former staff member of the Borja family, is a hard one to understand– her life was altered irrevocably on the day of the tragedy, and at first she appears to have developmental issues, but later she seems to know exactly what she is doing, which makes her simply weird. The only character who doesn’t irritate and who seems believable is Daniel, who is strictly speaking the villain of the piece.

The ending is disappointing and a bit unpleasant. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the story by telling you the outcome of the mystery and what caused the tragedy – because I don’t know. Although we obviously know the facts of what happened, who was hurt and what the tragedy was, the running them through the novel is whether someone was responsible for it. And we never find out for certain – the reader is left to decide themselves. Personally, I’d rather know.

As for the slightly unpleasant aspect to the ending, well it’s hard to write about that without giving a spoiler. Let’s just say there is an implication that a child is born from incest, but it is left as only an implication – again, the reader never knows for certain.

All in all, I think We All Ran into the Sunlight could have been so much more. With more revelations about the tragedy and its aftermath, it would have held my attention much better, and I would have preferred a more defined ending.

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We All Ran into the Sunlight
by Natalie Young

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Written by eilidhcatriona

A Scottish lass in her late twenties living in London. A prolific reader always interested in something new.

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