Tag Archive | France

“Until We Find Home” by Cathy Gohlke

I love reading books by Cathy Gohlke.  “Until We Find Home” is her latest novel and again is set during WW II.  Claire Stewart, an American, has joined the French Resistance and helps transport French Jewish children to England.  This is a clandestine enterprise, as smuggling refugees into Britain is illegal.   Planning to join the man she loves, who is also in the Resistance, before sailing to England, she is terrified to learn that he is not coming and that she is in charge of the five children during the channel crossing and in England.  She knows no one in Britain, but does remember an estranged aunt who may help her.  She and the children find their way to the estate in the Lake District, and she persuades her Aunt Miranda to take them in.  However her aunt agrees only if Claire stays to help with them.  Because most Brits have been pressed into service to billet war workers and refugee children, a fellow American border, David Campbell also stays at the estate.  He becomes the voice of reason in a tumultuous time.

I recommend this book highly.  I loved reading about the life of the citizens of Britain before the Americans stepped up to join the war.  Americans were not looked upon with favor during this time because the British thought that the United States was deserting them.  My only criticism of this book is the character of Claire.  I was ready to smack her a few times because she seemed to be self-absorbed.  During the course of the novel, however, I saw her growth in spirit and compassion and that was her redeeming quality.

NetGalley.com and Tyndale publishers provided me a complimentary Kindle advance reading copy in return for my honest review of this book.

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“The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn

My most favorite novels are those which are set in the 1930’s and 1940’s before, during and right after the Second World War.  I enjoy reading everything about that era in history and so was drawn to read “The Alice Network” by Kate Quinn.  This novel is a fictional account of an actual British spy ring in Paris during the Great War, and the consequences that occurred both during and after the Second Great War.

Charlie St. Clair is a young girl who is unmarried, pregnant, and hounded by her parents to “take care of the situation”.  Instead, Charlie takes off by herself with only one note that may lead her to her beloved cousin Rose, who is presumed dead.  Charlie thinks that Rose was involved with the Resistance in France during WW II and is not ready to give her up for dead.  She finds Eve Gardiner, a mouthy, drunken old woman, who may have information about Rose.  Eve Gardiner was recruited to be a spy in France during the First Great War.  She and two other women gave valuable information to the British about German troop movements and artillery.  Something happened to her during that time, something that made her live a life of drunkenness and seclusion.  When these two women join forces to find the truth, this is the story.

I thought this novel was very well researched and written and could not put the book down.  The intrigue, suffering and patriotism of the female espionage agents during both wars were painfully shown.  I applaud the author for bringing to light the escapades of our brave women who may have turned the tide of the war.

“Wives of War” Soraya M. Lane

In “Wives of War” Soraya M. Lane brings us the story of three young women…Scarlet, Ellie, and Lucy.  London, 1944…and the story begins with Scarlet and Ellie embarking on their first deployment as nurses.  Their intentions are a little different.  Scarlet is desperate to find her fiancé whom she has not heard from in months.  She knows he is probably in France and she is determined to find him.  Ellie would like to meet her soulmate and since most of the marriageable men are in the service and serving overseas, she decides to do her part as her brothers have done and enlist her services as a nurse.  Lucy has been in France since the invasion and feels herself immune to the horrors, blood, guts and deprivations of war.  This story follows these three women as they train, form bonds of friendship, and suffer the indignities and sufferings of war.  Ms. Lane provides extremely poignant moments for the reader as she follows these women into war.

I really enjoy novels based during WWII and this one was no exception.  I felt the dirt, sand, blood, stink and fear as these three women strived to provide their best to those soldiers who depended on them.  Loved the book.

I received a complimentary Kindle copy from NetGalley.com for reading and review.

“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly

“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly is one of those books that is hard to read because of some of the subject matter and riveting because of the subject matter.  The story begins in 1939 and tells the story of three women: Caroline, a society girl in New York and a Francophile, who loves all things French, Herta, a German doctor and supporter of Hitler, and Kasia, a Polish Catholic girl, trying to stay under the Nazi radar.

Caroline is desperately trying to help French immigrants as they flee before war starts.  She is hampered by the current immigrant quotas imposed by the American government, which is trying to stay neutral in the conflict.

Herta is a doctor when female doctors are not respected and finds that she is only available to help dermatological patients.  She is eventually sent by the regime to Ravensbrück “Reeducation Camp” for women.  Here, against her principles, she does things that are totally against the Hippocratic Oath.  As time moves on, she is desensitized to what she is doing, hardens her heart and ignores the plight of the prisoners she is in charge of.

Kasia, a young Polish girl, lives with her mother, father and older sister, a doctor in the Polish town of Lublin.  She knows some of her friends are in the resistance movement, since the Nazis have overrun her country, and she wants to help too.  Unfortunately on her second mission, she is noticed and she and her mother and sister and friend are arrested and sent to Ravensbrück.

This novel, based on true stories of the “Ravensbrück Girls”, combines the lives of these three women and their stories during this time of conflict and after.  Even though parts of this novel were very hard to read, I felt that the story needed to be told.  After all this time, man’s inhumanity to man is difficult to understand.  Because of the way the writer has treated this story and because of the in-depth research that preceded the writing of this story, I have to give it five stars.  Wonderful book!

I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com, but was under no obligation to post a review.

“The Mark of the King” by Jocelyn Green

In “The Mark of the King” by Jocelyn Green, midwife Julianne Chevalier is imprisoned and branded after a client accuses her of murder after the death of a new mother.   Julianne knows that she is not guilty, but nevertheless she is sentenced to life in a women’s prison in France.  Her parents died and she was left to raise her little brother, Benjamin.  He left home to join the French army and she thought him to be in Louisiana, a new French colony in the New World.  When she was offered a chance to trade her prison sentence for transportation to the new colony, she accepted and hoped that she would find her brother.  In order for the female prisoners to be able to sail to the New World, they first had to marry.  Male prisoners who also were to be transported were their choice.  The man Julianne chose for her “mate” tried to be a good husband.  However, tragedy struck and Julianne’s life was turned upside down again.  Conditions were harsh in this new community.  Humidity, insects, swamp animals, Indians and lack of food and shelter combined to provide a miserable existence.  However, Julianne was determined to survive.

I do not want to spoil the reader’s enjoyment of this novel, so I will just say that I read this book in record time because I could not put it down.  I found the historical references to be well researched and presented.  Although this is a work of fiction, the reader is treated to well-written descriptions that provide an almost visual understanding of this time in history.

I was sent a complimentary print copy by LitFuse Publicity in return for my honest review.  Go to their  website for more information about the book:  http://litfusegroup.com/author/jgreen.

“The French War Bride” by Robin Wells

Robin Wells has written a book in my favorite genre, historical fiction set in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  “The French War Bride” is a book set in Paris, France and America.  The story begins in 2016 with Kat Thompson visiting Amélie O’Conner at the assisted living center where she resides.  Katherine has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has come to talk to Amélie to find the truth behind her marriage to Kat’s fiancé, Jack O’Conner.  Jack was supposed to come home from the war and marry Kat, but circumstances were such that he brought Amélie home as his war bride instead.  This book is actually Amélie’s story beginning in September, 1939 and continuing throughout the war in France.  I’m sure that one could never imagine the trials and tribulations that the citizens of Paris and all of France endured at the hands of the occupiers.  Everyone did what they had to do in order to eat, live, and also follow their conscience during this period of deprivation and destruction.  I loved the book and it brought out the fact that although the United States was engaged in World War II, the actual fighting and enemy occupation was never brought to our mainland.  Our citizens really did not know what real sacrifice was.  I loved the book and it will be placed on my “keeper” shelf.

I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.

“At the Edge of Summer” by Jessica Brockmole

“At the Edge of Summer” by Jessica Brockmole is a novel set in 1911 France.  It is the story of a fifteen year old girl, Clare Ross, a Scottish lass, who has been left alone since her mother left and her father died.  A friend of her mother’s Madame Crepet has brought her to live with her family in the French countryside.  Luc is the son of this family and is studying in Paris.  He comes home on some weekends to try to make Clare not feel so lonely.  Their friendship blossoms until Clare’s grandfather comes to take her with him on his academic travels to exotic lands.  Clare and Luc keep in touch by letter until the Great War starts.  Clare thinks he has forgotten her, but his letters to her have been lost as have hers to him.

Clare becomes an artist and starts working with a studio that makes facial prostheses for soldiers who have been injured in the war.  One day, a young soldier comes to the studio for a consultation.  Clare works with him and feels that she must know him.  It is Luc, but his appearance has changed so drastically that she does not recognize him until later.  What follows is a story of love and forgiveness.

I read another book by Ms. Brockmole, “Letters from Skye”.  Her writing style seems to include letters that tell the story of the book.  I found that in her writing, the characters are let much of themselves come forth in their letters.  I did not see this same interaction between them when they met face to face.  This way of telling her story is interesting because the reader feels that he is actually seeing what the letter writer is feeling.

I was sent a print copy of this book by NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.