I have been waiting for what feels like such a long time to share my review. Today is the day when I finally can, it’s also the last post for the Blog Tour for this fabulous story. My review today is for Resistance by Eilidh McGinness, this is the first book in the trilogy – Liberty, with Equality and Fraternity to follow. A historical fiction set in the Dordogne area of France during World War II.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this wonderfully poignant book.
Bravery, courage, fear, treachery and love in a time of war.
A chance meeting draws Sabine Faure into the shadowy world of the French Resistance. Whilst acting as courier she meets four youths of her own age who wish to also join the Resistance. She is drawn to one in particular, Hérisson, who becomes her lover. Family loyalties are stretched to the limits as Sabine’s family try to navigate safely through the occupation.
Set in Dordogne in South-west France during World War II, the friends’ relationships and strengths are tested to the limits as life changes in horrific ways, The friends find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.
Vivid and powerful in its illumination of a time and place filled with atrocities but also humanity and extraordinary bravery, Eilidh McGinness’s novel may leave readers asking themselves – “what would I have done?” The novel is the first part of a trilogy set in southwest France during WW2 and is a family saga.
I do like my historical fiction and I am always on the lookout for authors that can bring something different. This author has done just that with this first book in the Resistance series.
Set during WWII, the story concerns a young woman, Sabine and a resistance fighter known as Hérisson. The two meet as Hérisson is looking to join the resistance in the fight against Hitler. Sabine finds herself doing her part to help and is uniquely placed to do so.
This is a fabulous read and one where I found myself thinking about consequences, it is something that the characters battle with as there are reprisals from the German forces when attacks are made from the resistance. Trying to keep their activities secret means keeping an eye out at all times. No one is safe especially when Germany occupies the French town of Saint Antoine de Double, while the town is fictional, many of the events are not.
The author has woven fiction around the factual and has created a book that flits between Sabine and Hérisson. They make two very distinct sides of the same story, one trying to carry on as normal and trying not to court any attention while the other is putting himself in harm’s way.
The author has created a story that shows the fear and also the proud determination a this most horrendous point in history. Persecution, torture, execution, deportation and death is something that all are in fear of and this is something that comes across very well in the story as well as the disbelief of some of the events that happen.
This is a wonderful start to this series and I am definitely looking forward to continuing it. It is one for readers who like their historical fiction to be based around or to include actual events. It is hard reading in some places and it had me on edge as I read about the two main characters and the people they know. It is one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author
Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South-West France with her then-husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long-held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.
It is an absolute delight to share my review today for The Turning of the Tide by Alan Jones. This is the final book in The Sturmtaucher Trilogy, so in some ways, it is also with sadness that I share this review.
I have read and loved each one of the books and it is a trilogy that not only to I Highly Recommend but also recommend that it is definitely read in order. You will find the link to Alan’s Amazon Page to order the books, a ridiculously cheap price and I for one would pay a lot more for these amazing books.
I have included Alan’s Website in the “About the Author” section of this post. There are so many items on this site that refer to his research and the book. Photo’s maps, glossary, documents and bibliography and these all add to the experience of reading the books.
Before I share my review of the final book, here are the two previous ones with the synopsis and a link to my full review…
Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.
‘Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.
The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.
As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.
The Nussbaums are Jews.
The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.
When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.
As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’
Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.
‘With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.
General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.
As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.
The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…’
The Turn of the Tide is the third book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.
As Hitler’s greed turns eastwards to the fertile and oil rich Soviet heartlands, life for the Kästner and the Nussbaum families disintegrates and fragments as the Nazis tighten the noose on German and Polish Jews. Implementing Endlösung der Judenfrage, the ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Problem’, Hitler, Himmler, Heydrich and Eichmann plan to have Germany, and Europe, Judenrein, ‘cleansed of Jews’. General Erich Kästner, increasingly alone, fights a losing battle to protect his friends, and their fellow Jews, putting himself and his family in jeopardy. As the tide of war turns, he looks anxiously to the Soviets in the east, and to the Western Allies, desperately hoping, despite his patriotism, that Germany is defeated before there are no Jews left in the countries occupied by the Third Reich. When an assassination attempt on Hitler and his henchmen fails, Erich Kästner himself comes under the scrutiny of the Gestapo, and his own survival, and that of his family, becomes uncertain. As the war draws to an end, with Germany in ruins, time is running out for the Kästners and the Nussbaums…
This is the final book in The Sturmtaucher Trilogy and what a journey it has been. I have been absolutely blown away by these books and it is with great sadness that my time with the characters has come to an end. This is an amazing trilogy and one that will stay with me for a long time, and yes, it does need to be read in order.
The Turn of the Tide, as I mentioned in the final instalment in this story of human determination, sacrifice, hope and love. The trilogy started in the run-up to WW II, it then followed key characters in their journeys as the war took hold. Now, they have the job of finding their way back to some semblance of life in the emotional and physical wreckage that is left.
There are two main families mentioned in this trilogy, the Naussbaum’s and the Kastner’s. They are a German Jewish family and a German family. The Naussbaum’s have worked for the Kastner’s for many years, both families children have been brought up together and are very close. It was when Hitler began to change the politics and the attitudes of people that peoples true feelings came out.
Obviously, in a trilogy of this size, there are also many characters. There are family members, friends, colleagues. associates, fellow prisoners, confidants, lovers, soldiers, spies, the list goes on. Given the huge amount of characters, the author has expertly and deftly woven them to create a masterpiece. Bringing facts, historical events, dates, numbers, and really shocking details to these books. The research that has gone into this is remarkable, just looking through the bibliography at the end is an eye-opener.
As I had already got a connection to the characters from the previous books, I of course had my favourites. Knowing the events from history though, I was expecting a loss or more! This made the reading hard, several times my heart was in my mouth and I almost didn’t want to turn the page in case I discovered the worst.
This sense of dread is balanced with a huge sense of hope, the hope that the characters I had grown to love would either find their way back or at least find peace. I have to say this book was so emotionally charged in so many different senses of the word.
This final book is just as heartbreaking as the previous two and also hard to read when the author details some of the abhorrent and evil conditions that people had to endure. It is remarkable that people did survive. WWII had such a catastrophic effect on many people, those that were persecuted because of their ethnicity, or their faith and also of their beliefs.
I am struggling to put into words how well written and amazing this trilogy is. Each book takes the reader on a journey, the final book brings the lives of the characters to a conclusion. I have laughed, cried and got angry as I have followed these characters. Even the last line of the book had me in tears.
This is a stunningly brilliant trilogy. The research is impressive, the storytelling is sublime, the characters are memorable and this is something that will stay with me for a very long time.
If you like historical fiction that has a lot of factual details woven in then this is one you really need to pick up. I would highly and absolutely, most defintiely recommend this book and the trilogy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.
He is married with four grown-up children and four wonderful grandchildren.
He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.
His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.
He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.
He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.
I am delighted to share my review for How To Betray Your Country by James Wolff. This is the 2nd book in the trilogy and it does work well as a stand alone.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this thriller book.
Following on from the acclaimed debut novel Beside the Syrian Sea, this is the second title in a planned trilogy about loyalty and betrayal in the modern world.
An authentic thriller about the thin line between following your conscience and following orders. James Wolff is the pseudonym of a young English novelist who “has been working for the British government for the last ten years”.
Things are looking bad for disgraced spy August Drummond. In emotional free fall after the death of his wife, fired for a series of security breaches… and now his neighbor on the flight to Istanbul won’t stop talking. The only thing keeping August sane is the hunch that there’s something not quite right about the nervous young man several rows ahead – a hunch confirmed when August watches him throw away directions to a European cemetery seconds before being detained by Turkish police. A reckless August decides to go to the cemetery, where he meets a mysterious figure from the dark heart of the Islamic State and quickly finds himself drawn into a shadowy plot to murder an Iranian scientist in Istanbul.
But nothing is what it seems, and before long August realizes he has gone too far to turn back. As he struggles to break free from the clutches of Islamic State and play off British intelligence against their Turkish counterparts, he will find his resourcefulness, ingenuity and courage tested to the very limit of what he can endure.
The synopsis for this book is a good length so it does go into depth. This is the second book in the trilogy, and I do think I would have benefited from reading the first book. The first book would have given me an idea of what happened to August Drummond and what caused his decline. It is however mentioned in this second book.
This is a story that is slower-paced than I am used to with a spy thriller style. I found this novel to be a spy thriller but it is more about looking at what’s happening with August. So, while he is working and trying to discover plots the reader also joins him in his psychological journey.
August is a man who is very definitely struggling with grief, he has problems with his drinking and his general appearance. The author has portrayed him as a very sad and lonely person who is just hanging in there, trying to do his job and who is really on the edge. He is a character who I really felt for as he struggles with life and keeping in the loop with his work.
For me, this was more about August rather than the spy and espionage part, although that was very good indeed. It is a story that at first had me confused as I tried to work out the basics and then to get my head around the plot that is constantly evolving, I do feel for poor August in this respect!
Even though I did take longer reading this, I was so glad I persevered as things gradually started to come together, I found myself caring about what happened to August and also one of the other characters, Yousef. There are two different styles to this story, one is the story itself and the other is a series of reports and documents. These threw me initially and it was further into the story where I started to realise the significance of them.
This is a book that does fall into the spy thriller genre, its slower pace and the psychological side may throw readers if they are looking for a more general fast-paced story. I enjoyed this book and I did like the journey, it is one I would recommend.
About the Author…
James Wolff is an exciting new voice in literary thriller writing. He grew up in the Middle East and now lives in London. He has worked for the British government for the past ten years.
Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey. This is an author who amazed me when I read The Girl With All The Gifts, so when I saw there was to be a Blog Tour for his lteast book I immediately jumped on board.
Let me show you what The Book of Koli is all about…
The Book of Koli begins a breathtakingly original new trilogy set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.
Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognisable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, the Shunned men will.
Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls.
This is the first book in a trilogy by this author and The Book of Koli got off to a great start. Set in a future earth where small defended settlements are the norm, strangers seldom seen and where the vegetation is just as vicious and wild as the animals.
Technology is the commodity of power and status, being able to use it sets you apart from the general population. It is this desire to own and wield a piece of tech from the old world that sets Koli on his future path.
I like the character of Koli, he is inquisitive and it at an age in life where he wants to know more. The author spends a good deal of time in the first half of the book giving background information, well as much as is possible as the story is told from the perspective of Koli, so the world as it is is through the eyes of Koli.
Koli is the teller of his own story, and it is a format I really liked as after all he is the main focus of the book. I got to know his daily routines, his friends and family as well as his wanting to know more. As well as this the author fills in more about the surrounding area and this I liked a lot. Using some place names that had been twisted over time so that they are still recognised but not quite right, sort of like Chinese whispers, gave a dimension to the story that added to the reading.
For me this does have the hallmarks of being the first book in a series, there are background details, some histories and explanations that are needed to be put in place to make what follows flow in a more understandable and coherent way. There are some good descriptions of plants, scenery, dangers and also how the community works as a whole.
The second half of the book gradually picks up the pace, still not a fast break neck pace, but one that worked for me especially as the pace of life is more walking and running speed. Everything about this book worked well and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.
This is the story is of a boy who wants more and goes the wrong way about it, this gives it a coming of age feel but in a very dangerous world. The world that the author has created is so well done, descriptions of the unusual flora plants have been done so well. An edginess and nervous place where danger lurks, under, behind and above. A world that sounds okay within the walls of a community, but not outside them.
I do like a good dystopian read and this for me ticked the boxes. Having read and been amazed by The Girl With All The Gifts a few years ago I was glad to get back to this author, and I am aware that I do have other book of his still to read!
This is a book that I liked a whole lot, it was a little slower as there is a lot of groundwork that has been laid down. As a reader this works for me when I know there are more books to follow, and it suits the lifestyle of the people who live here. The book does finish at a good place but has definitely left me eager to read on with the other two books in the series.
The Book of Koli is a good read and one that I really enjoyed. It is a story that captivated me and one I would definitely recommend.
I also have the next book, The Trials of Koli, on pre-order and have to wait until September before it is released!
M. R. Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on Lucifer, Hellblazer and X-Men. His creator-owned series The Unwritten appeared regularly in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, games, radio plays, and TV and movie screenplays to his credit.