Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Book review of Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas

French Village Diaries book review Her Darkest Hour Sharon Maas
Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas

Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas

Book Description

‘You and me – we’re sisters, not enemies. We’ve got a real enemy at our door and we need to focus on that – together, united. I don’t want to be fighting you as well.

In the small French town of Colmar, swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, and twenty-one-year-old Marie-Claire is in love. She will do anything for her childhood friend Jacques, including spying on her German boss, Dietrich Kurtz. Anything to make Jacques see her in a new light, as something more than just a silly little girl.

But when Jacques rejects her, everything changes. Mortified and stung, Marie-Claire feels the need for revenge. She turns her back on those she loves and is catapulted into a new life.

Her little sister Victoire is aghast at her sister’s traitorous behaviour, not least because Marie-Claire is endangering Victoire’s own life-threatening mission, hiding Jewish refugees in their mother’s wine cellar. And when Marie-Claire marries Kurtz, Victoire knows her relationship with her sister has been poisoned for ever.

But when Victoire learns someone she loves is in terrible danger, her only choice is to trust the sister who betrayed her. Kurtz, Marie-Claire’s cruel and heartless husband, has key information and Victoire must persuade Marie-Claire to obtain it, even if it means risking Marie-Claire’s life. As secrets come to light and close bonds are broken, will the sisters be able to heal old wounds?

An unforgettable and unputdownable story of two sisters ripped apart by World War 2. Fans of The Nightingale and The Ragged Edge of Night will fall in love with Her Darkest Hour.  

French Village Diaries book review Her Darkest Hour Sharon Maas
Her Darkest Hour Sharon Maas

My Review

A family divided by war. Margaux, Victoire, Jacques and Juliette are all determined to resist the Nazi takeover of their beloved Alsace. Jacques is instrumental as a local Macquis coordinator, Margaux and Victoire hide escaping Jewish refugees in the wine cellar of their chateau and Juliette is working undercover for Jacques. They struggle to accept the actions of Marie-Claire, whose ideas and beliefs have often gone against the family grain. More interested in her looks and the Haute Couture of Paris, than the outdoor pursuits favoured by her siblings, Marie-Claire is quick to accept a prestigious job working for the boss of the local Nazi administration.

At first, when Jacques approaches her for inside help, she is frightened for her own safety, so refuses to assist in anything underhand, but soon events happen that cause her to turn away from her family. At twenty-one, she is both rebelling against her Mother, but also reaches a point where despite the dire situation she finds herself in, fear and pride prevent her from reaching out for help.

With the story moving from character to character, we are with them all, every step of their Occupation journey. The exhilaration of achieving a breakthrough, the pride at being recognised and feeling worthwhile, the terror of attack, the fear of discovery, the humiliation as the realisation dawns and the grief at losing loved ones. This novel is packed full of emotions and love. This is a family who will never give up, no matter what obstacles come between them.

If you’ve read The Violin Maker’s Daughter, also by Sharon Maas (see my review here) you will recognise some of the characters in this novel and I hope you will enjoy the overlap, and revisiting Margaux’s Chateau, as much as I did.

If you enjoy historical fiction and family drama, this is one to add to your kindle this summer.

French Village Diaries book review Her Darkest Hour Sharon Maas
Sharon Maas

Author Bio

Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951 and educated in Guyana and England. After leaving school she worked as a staff journalist at the Guyana Graphic and the Sunday Chronicle in Georgetown.

Sharon has always had a great sense of adventure and curiosity about the world we live in, and Guyana could not hold her for long. In 1971 she set off on a year-long backpacking trip around South America. In 1973 she travelled overland to India through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and spent two years in an Ashram in South India. 

Sharon on Twitter 

Buy Links


1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the lovely review..
    Glad you enjoyed it!


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