Tuesday, June 9

Mireille by Molly Cochran

The end of World War II is drawing near when Mireille de Jouarre is forced to flee her after being attacked by her abusive step-father. She meets up with her childhood friend Stefan, who is now a resistance fighter. The two fall in love, but after Stefan doesn’t return from an attack, Mireille once again finds herself fleeing, this time to Paris. On her way she learns she is pregnant. In order to provide for her newborn child she must begin a new life. She becomes a poule (French slang for prostitute) and takes on the name l’Ange (the Angel), and she quickly becomes the most famous poule in all of France. While attending a party she meets American film producer Oliver Jordan who later launches her a huge film career. Now that she is an actress, Mireille is determined to keep her past buried and to keep her daughter safe.

If that plot description sounds like a mouthful, it’s because it is. Mireille is nearly 600 pages long and spans many years of Mireille’s life. It starts with an intriguing hook. Oliver Jordan is at the Oscar’s in 1961, and his film starring Mireille is expected to sweep the awards. However Mireille is nowhere to be found and Oliver Jordan is panicking. From there it cuts back to Mireille’s childhood.

That flashback set the stage for where Mireille would end up, which made me interested in seeing how she would get there, especially seeing how she grew up in war torn France with an abusive step-father. I wasn’t a fan of author Molly Cochran’s decision to create a fictional movie that would sweep the Oscars, especially when I could then easily look up what films were actually nominated that year. But I wasn’t going to let something like that ruin the book for me.

Unfortunately I felt that the rest of the book pretty much ruined itself.

That tagline for this book is “Some women are born knowing how the world works…” While a lovely tagline, I do not feel that this represented the character of Mireille at all. In each new section of her life she is lost, having no idea what to do. The only reason she ends up first as a prostitute and then as an actress is because someone else influenced her to do it. For much of the book she is an extremely passive character and mostly acts as a response to other characters.

While I found Mireille to be a dull character, Oliver Jordan was far worse. Cochran sets him as a womanizing jerk and he plays that note throughout the entire story except for the prologue where I thought he was going to be a rather nice guy. My problem with Jordan is not that he was an antagonist, but that he was a boring antagonist and his constant womanizing antics grew old and repetitive. My favorite villains are those who are complex or unique and make me interested in reading more about then. When Jordan is introduced (outside of the prologue) Cochran spends a whole 5 pages describing the type of women he is attracted to and why he likes sleeping with them. Then she spends the whole next chapter describing why he married a woman he does not love and then a whole next chapter on all of the affairs he had while still married. All in all it was exhausting. If he had even one redeeming quality I think it would’ve helped make him a more complex and interesting character.

Later in the story Mireille’s daughter Stephanie is allowed her own POV which I found entirely refreshing. While some of her sections were a little too long I found her to be the most interesting character in the novel. For much of her life she grew up in a boarding school with no idea of her mother’s true profession and this provided the deepest material in the story.

As you could probably tell by now, I did not care for Mireille. Despite a somewhat intriguing opening and a few short sections with Stephanie, I found the lead characters to be dull and lifeless and I wasn’t gripped by the story. I’ve never read any of Molly Cochran’s other stories, so I’m not sure whether her fans will enjoy this, though I’m sure nothing I could say change a dedicated fan’s mind (nor is that my goal). If you decide to pick up this book I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

1/5 Stars

I received this book free from TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

About Molly Cochran

Molly Cochran is the author of more than twenty novels and nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestseller GrandmasterThe Forever KingThe Broken Sword, and The Temple Dogs, all cowritten with Warren Murphy. She is also the author of The Third Magic, and she cowrote the nonfiction bestseller Dressing Thin with Dale Goday. Cochran has received numerous awards, including the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Romance Writers of America’s “Best Thriller” award, and an “Outstanding” classification by the New York Public Library. Recently she published a series of young adult novels, LegacyPoison, and Seduction, and two novellas, Wishes and RevelsLegacy won a 2013 Westchester Fiction Award.
Visit Molly at her website, mollycochran.com

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