A forbidden romance for some and which is yet yearned by many others. A tragedy that will bring even closer the heirs of two traditional Parisian families. A dark secret about to be revealed.
Elena Cross and Reign Moon have got history. No, they do not know each other, they are not friends, and they do not attend the same social groups. And yet, they somehow spend the afternoons together while taking advantage of a Parisian view that only a few have got the pleasure to enjoy.
The friendship comes from years, the enmity from generations. But when Reign becomes the sole suspect in the crime that has stolen the life of Elena’s younger brother, he will rely on his special abilities to unmask the true assassin and clean his good name.
— by PAULA B. BIANCULLI
The messages arrive only at dawn, early in the morning. They all come from her, from Notre-Dame; they are all protectionists of the anonymity. […] Elena, however, found a pattern: the messages arrive minutes, even seconds, before the first ray of sun rips the sky, as if to tell her that there is, indeed, a light in the darkness and at the end of the tunnel.
What to say? She has already changed her mind; she already tried, she already inquired who it is who hides behind the mask and the texts. She already tried to guess, she already threatened, she already begged. But whoever it is on the other side, whoever is in possession of such a cell phone number, considers her to be mute, illiterate. Whoever it is, only speaks whatever it wants, whenever it wants to.
The most personal response she received regarding its identity could not have been more impersonal and came in the voice of Benjamin Franklin on the evening of the second Sunday in contact with this Anonymous:
“The three most difficult things in the world are keeping a secret, forgiving an offense, and seizing time.” I tell you, then, that my life is harder than that of any other man in Paris; than that of any other man should be. Notre-Dame
Why do you help me, Notre-Dame? Why do you hide behind such a beautiful mask? Why do you address to me only, if there are so many who ask you for consolation, help, a friendly word?
Because I can. Because I need to. Because I want to. Notre-Dame
After reading “Towards Tomorrow”, I was surprised to see that the author completely changed her narrative style and created a new plot as engaging and fantastic as, but endowed with new elements that do not resemble her parallel series.
Vaguely based on what I think is the most famous tragedy in History, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s lovers will recognize allusions, as well as some random text passages in between the plot), the story is told by an omnipresent narrator (who introduces itself first thing as “the camera”) and presents the reader to the generational conflict between two traditional Parisian families – the Cross and the Moons -, inflamed in present time by the Silver Cross’ murder and Reign Moon’s concomitant accusation – the classic case of being in the wrong place and at the wrong time .
The fact that the protagonists, Elena and Reign, know each other without knowing each other for years; help each other without knowing it and ultimately meet – “tête-à-tête” (let’s justify the location chosen by the author) – only at the end of the narrative made me eager to finish the book as soon as I could. The short and “thematic” chapters of much contributed to the fluency of the reading, even if the plot is purposely entangled and filled with different opinions – characteristics that define a good “Detective’s” match.
I love when authors dare and Carolina did just that by giving life to inanimate objects and moving out of the commonplace. Therefore, I have entertained myself especially with the two versions of Paris (readers will understand) and the dynamics between Reign and Dante. Reign, on his turn, proved to be a spherical and full of charisma anti-hero, even for someone who is in such a demeaning and hopeless position. And if Reign develops (and somehow blossoms) throughout the narrative, Elena leaves the best of her personality for last, proving that she is not the rich and spoiled girl that everyone (including me and Reign) thought she was, but a woman of noble and brave heart, capable of seeing that beauty is found within.
In short, I know Paris and its Notre-Dame from other times, and therefore I know that the author has made use of some poetic licenses (I do not remember her mentioning the protection grid installed in the twin towers, for example), but nothing that prevents the plot from being staged on the chosen location or that may disrupt or compromise the narrative. Quite on the contrary, the fantasy allows us to break free from standards and the author has proved to have fun reshaping it as she wants to.
Take a look at the Book Trailer!
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*the book trailer's soundtracks Fairytale (Harp & Chimes) and Gothic church bells.mp3 have been found on freesound.org Credits to Slakin_97 and Aeonemi respectively.