My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 2 days
Pages - 512
Publisher - Headline
Source - Vine
Blurb from Amazon
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.
Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.
On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined...
Duo timeline, multiple characters - we open in 1953 with Jean-Luc and Charlotte, alternating chapters. Happily settled in America with their son, recovering from the horrors of the war things are going relatively well. Until the past comes knocking and turns their world upside down - everything they love and cherish will be threatened because you can never forget or outrun your past.
Flipping to Paris, 1945, the war is in full grip and Jean-Luc is doing what he has to to survive, working on the railways near a camp where Jewish people are being held. Charlotte is helping out at a German hospital, each facing inner turmoil or judgement being so close to the German's and bearing witness to some of their evil and cruelty.
This is an emotive story, from reading different narratives and characters we see what it was like to live through the war, different perspectives. The worker, the carer, those trying to escape the Germans and the effect it had on them all in years to come. The struggles each faced, the love, loss, sacrifices, risks, danger and how it was in Paris with the German rule. I can't believe this is a debut, it is so well written, captures the reader early on and I wasn't expect to be swept along or have an attack of the emotions. Historical fiction isn't normally a genre I pull toward but I have been finding in recent years I am and enjoying although that seems the wrong choice of word because of the content. 4.5/5 for me this time, I will be looking forward to the next offering by this author.
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