Book review: Prodigal + competition

By Charles Lambert
Published by Gallic Books

Synopsis: The phone rings, in that short-tempered peremptory way machines have. He almost doesn’t answer; he’s been fending off unwanted offers of insurance, unlimited broadband, crates of discount wine for months now. His name must be on some list somewhere – Jeremy Eldritch, sucker...’ Meet the hapless Jeremy: a man in his late 50s, he scrapes together a living in Paris by writing soft-core pornography under the saucy guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged sister tells him their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his parental home in the depths of the English countryside. Confronted with a life that he had always been eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally fraught journey into the family’s chequered past. The journey takes him back to the unexpected death of his mother in a provincial Greek hospital years earlier and, further back, to the moment at which the Eldritch family fell apart. It’s a journey composed of revelations, of secrets disclosed and not disclosed, and of something that might, or might not, be reconciliation... An atypical coming-of-age tale, Prodigal deftly reconsiders everything we think we know about the nature of trust, death, and what we do to each other in the name of love.

How did this book end up in my hands? The lovely Jimena from Gallic Books asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing the latest novel by Charles Lambert and I jumped at the occasion.

Was it a page-turner? Prodigal is not a book you will want to rush through. What you will want to do is savour the language, observe the characters, try to understand them… this book is like a good bottle of wine!

Having read the synopsis, did the book meet my expectations? Having read something by Lambert before, I had fairly high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. Far from that, I was positively impressed by what he achieved. The depth of the characters is incredible and more and more layers are added as you travel back in time and see what made them the people you meet at the beginning of the novel.

Did I like the ending? [no spoilers] Yes, a chatartic, satisfying and plausible ending if there evere was one!

Three words to describe it. Emotional. Bittersweet. Darkly comic.

Do I like the cover? Yes, and not only because it couldn’t match my furniture any better!

Have I read any other books by the same author? Yes, I read Any Human Face back in 2012 and loved all about it… the characters, the setting, the pace. You can read here an interview I did with the author at the time.

Will I be recommending this book? Yes, especially to readers who like to get to know their characters in addition to having a perfectly structured novel that provides enough plot twists and surprises to keep them on their toes.

Anything else? Yes! The publisher has kindly offered one copy of Prodigal to go to a lucky reader! All you have to do is follow me on Twitter and retweet the competition post by 25/11. UK only. All comments left below will count as extra entries (one per person). Good luck!


  1. This sounds like a book to really get engrossed in. I do love a book with the kind of style and language that makes you want to savour it rather than pelt through!

  2. I have read conflicting reviews on this one so I'd love the chance to read it and make up my own mind.


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