Home New Releases Backlist Contacts

Publication in France:
14 September 2017

340 pages

The Gates to Happiness

Catherine Boissel

Add to my list


The extraordinary story of Pauline, a strong-willed woman living through the Great War of 1914-1918.

17-year-old Pauline is the silent, but also the angry, type who has inherited from her father, a Normandy farmer, a love of animals and the land. In her Calvados village, the war has enlisted the horses as well as the men – Pompon, a proud Percheron draft horse which she grew up with, has left for the front lines to haul the artillery carriages. This is a wrench for Pauline which affects her far more than the departure of her brother, as is chancing to see Henri, her secret and impossible love, on the eve of him going off to the front.

All the waiting and all the doubt throw Pauline into turmoil and she no longer feels at home on the family farm. In 1917, having lost all hope, she enlists as a volunteer nurse in the Marne.

Brought face to face with the horror of war, can Pauline still bring herself to believe in miracles?


Catherine Boissel is a member of the science and technology faculty at the University of Caen-Normandie. She has published three novels on the subject of horses and the Middle Ages: Le Loup des ponts d’Ouve, L’Enfant du crépuscule and Le Prieuré des ténèbres.

More information in french