Saturday, April 18, 2020

Book review of In Darkness, Look for Stars by Clara Benson

French Village Diaries book review In Darkness, Look for Stars Clara Benson
In Darkness, Look for Stars by Clara Benson

In Darkness, Look for Stars

Paris, 1941: Going against her mother’s orders, spirited Maggie devotes herself to the Resistance. Her life is a whirlwind of forged passports and secret midnight runs, helping Jews escape. Much to her high-society mother’s disproval, she has fallen in love with Emil, a Jewish Resistance fighter who is wanted by the Nazis.

The city is growing more dangerous by the day, with signs proclaiming ‘No Jews’ posted everywhere in the maze-like streets, and people dragged away in handcuffs. The forbidden lovers are forced to say goodbye – Emil going underground to escape capture.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s sister Cecilia is hundreds of miles away, where the realities of war are yet to hit the serenity of the South of France. Innocent and shy Cecilia is shocked to the core when Emil turns up, seeking refuge. Her sheltered life turned upside down, Cecilia is thrown into the world of the Resistance, all the while sending coded letters to her sister, who every day awaits news of her fiancé.

But with the Nazis closing in on them, their lives soon hang in the balance. Both sisters must decide where their loyalties lie – and how far they are willing to go to save themselves, and one another.

An evocative, riveting and stirring tale about the tragic realities of war, the fine line between loyalty and lies, and the power of love, even in the darkest of times. Fans of The NightingaleThe Letter and All The Light We Cannot See will be spellbound by this magnificent historical novel. 

French Village Diaries book review In Darkness, Look for Stars Clara Benson
In Darkness, Look for Stars blog tour

My Review

This book moves between the lives of the Brouillard family during the Occupation in Paris and then after the war in England. We meet Maggie in the prologue, and I was instantly taken with her vibrancy, energy and full-of-life attitude. She is determined to make things as difficult as possible for the occupying Germans and will do all she can to keep her Jewish boyfriend Emil safe. Her mother Rose is driven by other goals, mainly keeping the name of her husband, and his music, alive, even if this means socialising with the Germans and pushing her children to their limits. Cécilia is studying music in Nice and as an arty type, spends most of her time lost in her own world, until events overtake her, and her life is turned upside down. Decisions she is only barely conscious of making will have repercussions for the family forever.

In post-war England, Harriet is slowly putting her life back together after her own tragedies when she lands a job as secretary to the frosty Rose Brouillard and finds herself living within a fractured family where there seems no place for happiness. As she becomes involved in their lives, she is determined to discover what has happened to cause them to be so destructive towards each other. Encouraging Cécilia out of her shell, piece by piece, their story is slowly revealed, and Harriet begins to understand just how devastating their war was for the family. It is not only the family who need a new perspective on life and as she helps Cécilia, Harriet finds her own wounds beginning to heal, but are any of them ready to grasp the opportunity for a brighter future?

This book has strong characters, with so much emotion hidden behind their behaviour it is heart breaking in places but creates intrigue and fascination for the reader. As the book moved between the two storylines, my desire to discover all they were hiding, and find out where they were heading increased with each chapter until I couldn’t put it down. 

If you enjoy complex family dramas and fiction set during the Occupation, this book should tick lots of boxes for you and the kindle book is currently only 99p.

Purchase Links


French Village Diaries book review In Darkness, Look for Stars Clara Benson
Clara Benson

Author Bio

Clara Benson is the author of traditional English whodunits and other historical fiction. Over the years she’s lived in London, Milan and Florence, and can still speak a bit of Italian if pressed. Now she lives with her family in the north of England, where she spends her days writing and trying to ignore an ever-lengthening to-do list.

Find her at, or follow her on Facebook or 

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