The House at Zaronza

Tales of Corsica series Book 1

Set in early 20th-century Corsica and at the Western Front in World War I. Based on a true story.

A poignant story of lost love and betrayal, set amid the mountains of Corsica and the turmoil of World War I.

Corsica, 1899. Life is dull in the village of Zaronza, and twenty-year-old Maria craves excitement. A young school master arrives, and her wish is granted. But Maria’s strict parents would condemn their romance, and so the lovers must meet and write to each other in secret.

When Maria’s father announces his plans to marry her off to a man she despises, her dreams crumble.

After many setbacks, Maria’s search for purpose and fulfilment takes her far from Corsica’s shores to the streets of Paris and the field hospitals of the Western Front.

A century later, Rachel travels from England to Corsica to trace her ancestors. She unearths a series of passionate love letters and a long-forgotten memoir. Page by page, Maria’s story emerges: a tale of heartache and regret, but also of courage and resolve.

A new edition is now available in paperback and e-book formats from all branches of Amazon and from bookstores. This edition has a new cover and minor editorial changes to the text.  

Praise for The House at Zaronza 

“Emotionally powerful…I could see the deep blue Mediterranean and the plunging cliffs and savour its cuisine and myrtle aperitif, but this novel is more than a travelogue. Vanessa Couchman writes with intelligence and skill.” Historical Novels Review

“An emotional, absorbing and powerful read…Vanessa Couchman has a huge potential talent, and will be an author to watch…”Discovering Diamonds, historical fiction review website

“An emotional, absorbing and powerful read…Vanessa Couchman has a huge potential talent, and will be an author to watch…” Discovering Diamonds, historical fiction review website

What a lovely story of love and loss. Thoroughly enjoyed.” Chill with a Book

“Beautifully written, evocative of this small island. A lovely book.” Tripfiction

“…powerfully written and gripping.” French Village Diaries

“…hooked me right to the end… I would highly recommend this book.” BookMuse

 “…not only an excellent historical fiction read, but also a revealing glimpse into the evolution of women’s rights…” The Good Life France

 “She writes with a pleasing balance of description and dialogue, lingering on the fine details that make this sort of novel such a joy to read…” French Property News

Amazon Customers’ Reviews

“A beautiful piece of historical fiction…an absolute treat of a book.”

“This debut novel is an absolute gem.”

“I loved this book. It is beautifully told, word perfect, totally absorbing and wonderfully researched.”

“I have so enjoyed reading this story, especially poignant in a year when past catastrophes are commemorated.”

“An enchanting and compelling story…I look forward to reading more from this author.”

“Fantastically atmospheric with a great sense of place and history.”

“This is historical fiction at its best!”

“I couldn’t put the book down and loved it from beginning to end.”


2 thoughts on “The House at Zaronza

  1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Sandra. We authors love to know what people think of our books, but we don’t always get to find out. So I’m very grateful to you for taking the time and trouble to seek out my website and to share your thoughts about the book. I have another novel set in Corsica written and I hope it will soon be published, plus I have in my head a sequel to The House at Zaronza. So yes, please do watch this space, and thank you again. Warm regards, Vanessa.


  2. Have just been visiting friends in Caylus who lent me this book to read.
    I became totally engrossed in the atmosphere of the book & could not put it down. I really needed a rest & break from life in general & this book helped me to switch off into another time & place.
    Thank you will definitely read more of this authors books

    Liked by 1 person

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