I love novels about spies and espionage during World War II. I have a few favorite authors whose books I MUST have and must read. Susan Elia MacNeal is one of those authors. I have read all of her Maggie Hope Mysteries. Her latest, “The Paris Spy” was another one that I could not put down until I’d read it all. What a rollercoaster of danger, excitement, and historical imaginings! Maggie is clandestinely in Paris under an assumed name to find a friend and her sister, Elise. Something is wrong in the SOE (Special Operations Executive). Agents are disappearing, communication seems to be compromised, but the head of SOE is complacent in dealing with this information. He just assumes that all is well and that the agents are getting careless. Maggie keeps a cool head through the dangers, but is caught in a trap. Although she is returned to England, what happens there will keep me in suspense until Ms. MacNeal’s next Maggie Hope novel has been written. I can’t wait to read it!!
“Avenue of Spies” written by Alex Kershaw is a true story of an American family’s decision to aid the French resistance in helping Allied flyers escape Nazi-occupied France during World War II. What makes this book so exciting is that this family lived amidst the SS Gestapo just a few yards from their home. Sumner Jackson, an American doctor working at the American Hospital in Paris, his French wife, Toquette, and their son, Phillip all aided the resistance in their own way. Sumner hid Allied prisoners in the hospital until he could find a way to get them to safety. Toquette provided a clearing house for messages to and from the resistance and the Allies. Phillip was not supposed to be involved as he was only twelve when the Nazis occupied France, but as he got older he was not ignorant of the work of his parents. As the Allies advanced after D-Day into France and Paris, the city, attempts were made to remove those enemies of the Germans from the city into Germany. Prisoners were being killed or transported to work camps in Germany in order that they could not reveal the atrocities that were committed by the Nazis and the Milice (French paramilitary working with the Nazis).
Even though I have read countless novels regarding the Nazis and the atrocities that were committed during the war, the idea that this is a true story of one family’s courage, determination and selflessness during that insane time, brings it more to life for me. It is evident that much research went into the writing of this book and so I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this time period of history.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books.com in exchange for my honest review. No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.
“The Pursuit of Pearls” by Jane Thynne is one book in the Clara Vine series. Not only is the novel’s plot in my favorite genre, a World War II historical theme, but it is expertly written. This is a spy novel at its best. The main character, Clara Vine, an actress for the Reich, and a spy for the British government, is wonderfully portrayed. I was so immersed in this novel that I really read more slowly than I usually do because I didn’t want the book to end. Ms. Thynne’s inclusion of prominent names of the era and their interaction with Clara was brilliant. We get a sense in this book of the highly emotional, tense, and dangerous every day existence of the inhabitants of Berlin…the hunters and the hunted. I have a tendency to live in the books I read. I feel as though I was actually experiencing what Clara did and having the same fear and terror that she felt at times. This to me is the epitome of good writing. Jane Thynne is one of my most favorite writers and I will read all that she writes.
I received a print copy of this book from NightOwlReviews.com in return for my honest review.
Tracy Groot is an author who writes wonderful books. They are well written and researched. “Flame of Resistance” is her novel about the French Resistance during World War II. During the Occupation ordinary Frenchmen exhibited extraordinary courage. Shortages of virtually every staple of food, fuel, clothing…everything was rationed or non-existent. Those who were courageous enough to put their lives on the line to help downed airmen or Jewish neighbors were constantly watchful and fearfully observant of their surroundings. Anyone at any time could voice their suspicions of their activities to the SS or Gestapo or Milice (French police).
The Resistance provided valuable information to the Allies about German troop movements and fortifications, especially nearing the invasion. People took awful risks to their lives and those of their families in order to provide help to the Allies. The inevitable turn of the tide for the Germans did not lessen their fierceness and cruelty when dealing with those who bested them. It was as though they needed to up their aggressiveness to prove that they were in the position of right.
I thought this book was a wonderful tribute to those who resisted. Along with them, we read about those Nazi’s and Germans who do not condone the excessive torture and abuse heaped on persons suspected of crime against the occupation. The smallest grievance could result in death. I was excited to read that many of the locations and military fortifications were actually truly written about and that some of the characters were based on actual persons who were involved.
I received a complimentary print copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in return for my honest review.
I downloaded “German Girl?” by Vivian Ert Bolten Herz from Amazon.com as a free offering. I was intrigued by the sub-title, “Mishling” Memories of a Jewish-Christian Girl in Nazi Berlin. I was not disappointed.
This is a true story written by the girl who lived it. Vivian Ert was born during the Nazi rule in Germany. She really never knew anything different until the war was over and she and her mother and brother emigrated to America. She lived with her mother’s parents because of her father’s Jewish religion. Her mother had converted to Judaism, but upon their divorce renounced that religion and reverted to her Lutheran heritage. She was still interrogated by the Gestapo on more than one occasion. Even Vivian was sought by the Gestapo because of her father. Thankfully she was hidden by her grandparents.
This story was gripping in that the experiences that the Germans who were not Nazis had to go through were terrorizing to them. There was not enough food, rations were slim, and Nazis confiscated anything of value for De Fuhrer! Vivian’s story is just one of the many that could be found about anyone living in Nazi Berlin. We follow Vivian from 1944 when she was six, through the rest of the war, the aftermath of war, the Berlin airlift and on to America. Life in America was not easy for the emigrants.
I really hope that those who read this novel get a sense of what war under tyrants can be like and hope that we never have to experience the terror and deprivation of those in the middle of war.