Thursday, 3 April 2014
Author: Liza Perrat
Genre: Historical Fiction (WWII)
Type: Kindle e-book
Source: Direct from author
Publisher: Perrat Publishing
First Published: October 1, 2013
First Line: "We gather in the cemetery, before the ossuary, with the straggle of other remaining survivors and their families."
Book Description from GoodReads: Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.
1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.
When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.
As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.
Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.
A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit. Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to author Liza Perrat for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.
My Review: As readers of my blog already know, I really enjoy reading books about WWII so a book that is set in this era has to bring something new to the table to keep me interested. Wolfsangel did ... and then some.
I found this to be an emotional, touching read with edge of your seat action that made me see WWII through different eyes. It still deals with the highs and lows of human behaviour during such a horrific time, but Perrat gives a face to the destruction that happened on a smaller front -- occupation in a small French town. It showed how the townspeople were forced to live alongside German soldiers and how that affected them financially, emotionally, socially and ultimately very personally. It was a very unique take and showed just how far reaching the Hitler's power went and that the brutality of war wasn't only on the battlefields.
This was a very character driven read that focuses on the life of Céleste, a young French woman who hasn't really figured out who she is yet. The reader sees how Céleste goes from being a naïve young woman to a strong, capable and brave woman who now knows that she wants better for herself. She's not written as a predictable stereotype as the reader sees her struggle with being with the man she loves, with the chaos around her and supporting her family and friends during a very tumultuous and dangerous time. Céleste was impetuous at times, made the wrong decisions occasionally but throughout she was courageous and a character that was believable and that I had no trouble rooting for.
The secondary characters were also well-fleshed out and if felt like we really got to know the people around Céleste as well as the inner workings of this small town. They each had their own secrets and, when pushed, would do whatever it took to ensure the safety of those around them. I also thought it was interesting and unique to get Martin's struggle on what it felt like for him to be stationed in the French town as a Nazi soldier.
"I sense they are thinking: how can he be in our home when his countrymen have taken the head of our house prisoner? Or that I see their house as a hotel, not appreciating the comfortable bed and clean sheets,' he said. 'I do. But I still miss my home, and wish I did not have to stay in theirs."
That said, I do wish more time had been spent fleshing out the relationship between Céleste and Martin, her German officer beau. For two people on very different sides of the war their relationship seemed to happen a little too quickly and easily for me to totally get on board and believe the strong emotions between them.
This is a book about the resilience of the human spirit, love and how the devastating effects of war stay with those who were unfortunate enough to be touched by it. While the Céleste's fight isn't on the battlefront it is no less brutal or barbaric as the reader witnesses the atrocities the townspeople had to endure under the German occupation of their small, formerly peaceful town. The inclusion of the French Resistance movement was very interesting and helped Wolfsangel to keep me on the edge of my seat several times and forced me to have a Kleenex at the ready as I saw the personal (and no less horrific) effects of the war.
The book ends with an emotional, disturbing and shocking ending that I didn't expect. The addition of the historical information that inspired this book helped to give this already poignant and touching ending an even bigger emotional punch for this reader. I'm very happy that this author reached out to me and asked me to review her book. While I wasn't familiar with this author before receiving this book, I can guarantee that I will be picking up some of her other books.
My Rating: 4/5 stars