Thursday, April 27, 2023

Book review of A Light to Guide Us Home by Dianne Haley

French Village Diaries book review A Light to Guide Us Home Dianne Haley
A Light to Guide Us Home by Dianne Haley

A Light to Guide Us Home: An utterly heartbreaking and powerful WW2 historical novel (The Resistance Girl Book 3) by Dianne Haley


Please, you must get Clara out of France!’ cried the woman, her voice breaking in desperation. ‘She’s only thirteen and her parents have been taken to a death camp. Can you save her before it is too late?

1943, Nazi-occupied France: Valérie Hallez clings to the hope that she will soon reunite with her beloved fiancé, Philippe, fighting the Nazis in Italy. Until that day comes, she risks her life helping Jewish children flee across the border with the resistance, but each tear-stained face breaks her heart a little more.

So, when she learns of little lost Clara, an orphan whose family has been torn apart by the German occupation, and is asked to rescue her, she jumps at the chance to save another innocent life. But she isn’t the only one searching for the young girl…

Because brave Clara is carrying a crucial Nazi document. And the secrets it holds could change the course of the war forever.

Frantically trying to stay one step ahead of the Gestapo, Valérie traces Clara to an isolated children’s home – but she is too late. German soldiers have already raided the building.

Her relief when she hears that Clara escaped is short lived, as there’s not a whisper of her whereabouts. And just when she’s about to start on her search, devastating news reaches her about Philippe.

Shattered by the thought that Philippe may never come home, Valérie tries to pull the pieces of her broken heart back together. She knows there’s a little girl lost out there who needs her. So, she must make the hardest choice of all. Even if she can’t save her dearest love, can she save poor Clara – and help her end this terrible war?

A totally unputdownable and heart-wrenching wartime story about love, bravery and sacrifice. Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Nightingale and The Alice Network.

A Light to Guide Us Home can be read as a standalone.

French Village Diaries book review A Light to Guide Us Home Dianne Haley
A Light to Guide Us Home by Dianne Haley



My Review

I’d not read the first two books in this series, The Watchmaker’s Daughter and Under a Brighter Sky, however, this book can be read as a standalone novel, and it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. 


I found I easily slipped into the lives of Valérie and Philippe, as they bravely put themselves into ever increasingly dangerous situations to help others affected by the war and the occupation of France, from German infiltrated Geneva and over the border into Italy. At a time in their lives when they should have been able to celebrate being with each other, doing what they knew was right, meant separation, fear and anxiety. 


Then there was the Lieberman family, who thought Paris would offer them a safe haven, only for the Occupation to tear them apart. Clara’s escape journey, alone and at high risk, was emotional and I can’t imagine what the thousands of children like her had to live through during that time. With each chapter focussing on a different character’s story, it was Hannelore, Clara’s aunt, who I found myself bonding with the most. The decisions she made, and the risks she took staying in Paris, were brave and centred only on helping those around her despite her heartbreak and the mission she knew had to accomplish. 


This is definitely a book for those of you who devour the suspense of historical fiction set amidst the selfless underground Resistance movement. Set at a time when knowing who to place your trust in could be a matter of life and death, and the threat of tragedy for those you love only ever a heartbeat away. It was easy to keep turning the pages in this emotional read.


Purchase Links  

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French Village Diaries book review A Light to Guide Us Home Dianne Haley
Dianne Haley


Author Bio 


Originally from the north of Scotland, Dianne now lives with her husband in Edinburgh and has two grown-up children. After a thirty-year business career in London and Edinburgh when Dianne wrote between projects, she is now writing full-time.


Dianne and her family have been visiting the area round Lake Geneva since 1992 and love the Alps in all seasons. The inspiration for her series set in WW2 Switzerland came from a drive through Geneva’s old town on a rainy October evening, the cobbled lanes a perfect setting for secrets and hiding places.


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