This is the best book I have read all year. Although loosely based on the Tichborne affair, it is separate and a contemporary take on the role of identity, family, image and a moral riddle of inheritance, wealth ,power and privileged.
I have not read this author before but I will go and find all she has written, she's amazing. I was engrossed by the story and by the characters, taken in by her wealth of classical knowledge and the breadth of her story.
In this novel, a young boy is reclusively brought up in France by his devoutly Catholic mother. The gardener's daughter discovers him and is adopted by the Countess as a surrogate sibling to the cosseted young boy. Their lives converge and diverge as they grow older. He is sent off to America, to an Ivy league college due to his surname, his family privilege and wealth. The Vietnam war, the assassination of political figures and the growing-up of America all come into play.
The young man fights his heritage and his wealth, and is lost. His mother and young friend never loose hope of finding him, even when he does not want to be found.
The story is beautifully told, the author is a master storyteller. Well worth reading.