The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine by Tilly Bagshawe

Posted August 24, 2022 by elzaread in Book Review / 7 Comments

The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine by Tilly BagshaweThe Secrets of Sainte Madeleine by Tilly Bagshawe
Published by Harper Collins on February 17th, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 506
Format: eBook
Source: The Pigeonhole
Buy on Amazon

Sweeping through the 1920s to WWII and beyond, this is the story of the Salignac family – the loves that bind them, the secrets that threaten to divide them, and the chateau that will always call them home.

Deep in the French countryside, inside the walls of a family chateau, a remarkable legacy awaits . . .

From the international bestselling author comes an escapist, glamorous tale spanning generations & sweeping from Burgundy to Greece and beyond . . .


Elise would do anything to inherit Sainte Madeleine, the vineyard that’s been home to the Salignacs for generations. Only Laurent Senard, a distant cousin, is a rival for her heart – yet when a family rift sends her on a new and dangerous path, she risks losing them both . . .

Alexandre, Elise’s brother, can’t bear to see their capricious father put the vineyard – and Alex's birthright – in jeopardy. He leaves to carve out his own fortune in the rich hills of Napa, California. But will turning his back on the chateau be his biggest mistake?

Laurent Senard’s love for Elise was planted at Sainte Madeleine long ago. But with the shadow of war sweeping over Europe, Laurent must leave France to fight. Through the years of longing, secrecy and tragedy that follow, he vows to find his way back – if only it isn’t too late . . .

How much do you love family sagas? If you grew up in the 80’s, you will know it was the time for great music, crazy hair, and family sagas. Television Shows like Dallas and best sellers like Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, dominated the decade.

I guess if you’ve grown up with the likes of those, family sagas will forever have a special place in your reading heart. The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine ticked all the right boxes:

  • Fictional drama focusing on one or more generations in one family and their fates, fortunes and passions
  • Interconnected families with age old grudges and crushes
  • The story spans several decades
  • Deep Historical roots
  • Throw in an old family legend, and the deal is sealed
  • Happily ever after isn’t necessarily in everyone’s timeline


Sainte Madeleine has been the home of the Salignac Family for generations. Born and bred with the believe that the butterflies of Sainte Madeleine will always show favor to the Salignacs, Elise believes that nothing and no-one will ever stand in the way of her birthright.

Her Brother Alex, who is a better business man with visionary insights that the family hasn’t seen in ages, can’t stand to see the decline of the vineyard under their father’s drunken stupors and he leaves for Napa, California after yet another family feud.

The Salignac family are close with the Senard family, a couple of miles down the road. Enter Laurent Senard. The brooding, tall, dark and handsome son whose love for Elise took root when they were nothing more than children.

Yes, it does appear as if family feuds might be the biggest drama these families will ever face, but throw in the Spanish Revolution and WWII and the plot thickens, unfortunately not with honey.

I found myself reading late into the night (and that on a cellphone) to uncover more and more secrets, lies, sorrows and celebrations revolving around the magical chateau that is Sainte Madeleine. I got so mad at some of the characters and rooted for others. Exactly how I want my Family Saga served.

This was my first time reading anything by Tilly Bagshawe, but I am definitely taking a look at a few of her other books as well. She captured the emotions, character trades and sometimes ruthless actions of these characters with compassion and empathy in such a way that you find yourself gasping in shock the one moment and feeling sorry for the very same character two chapters later.

A big shout out to The Pigeonhole Book Club in your pocket for granting us a slot on the serialization of this book. Perfect choice! I loved waiting for the release of every new stave almost as much as we used to love waiting for a new episode of Dallas….

If you love Family Sagas encrusted in a strong historical background, do try The Secrets of Sainte Madeleine. I promise, it won’t disappoint.



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