By J’nell Ciesielski
Published by Thomas Nelson Fiction
What’s it about?
Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.
As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?
What I think:
There were bits of this book that I really liked. Some of the scenes highlighting the contrast between the lives of the Nazi leaders compared to occupied France were vivid and atmospheric. The writer captures the uncomfortable atmosphere of a dinner party with Hitler wonderfully.
My problem with the book is that I didn’t really warm to any of the characters. Ellie is particularly selfish – I found it hard to believe that anyone who was living in Paris and having an affair with a married Nazi soldier would be so naive about the horrors of the regime and the true nature of her lover. She shows a remarkable ability to ignore things she does not like in return for material wealth.
Kat is more likeable and resilient than her sister. Her relationship with Barrett develops nicely but I must admit that they found the ending of their story unrealistic (no spoilers, but I would be interested to see what other readers think about that). Barrett’s back story and the revelations about his mother were a little too unrealistic and coincidental for me.
This was probably more romantic than most of the historical fiction I normally read. But there was lots of historical detail to recreate occupied France and lots of action to keep up the pace in the second half of the book.
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.
The Socialite is publish in May, but you can pre-order from:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here