The Secret Pianist by Andie Newton
Sisters. Traitors. Spies.
When a British RAF Whitley plane comes under fire over the French coast and is forced to drop their cargo, a spy messenger pigeon finds its way into unlikely hands…
The occupation has taken much from the Cotillard sisters, and as the Germans increase their forces in the seaside town of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Gabriella, Martine and Simone can’t escape the feeling that the walls are closing in.
Yet, just as they should be trying to stay under the radar, Martine’s discovery of a British messenger pigeon leads them down a new and dangerous path. Gaby would do anything to protect her sisters but when the pianist is forced to teach the step-daughter of a German Commandant, and the town accuses the Cotillards of becoming ‘Bad French’ and in allegiance with the enemy, she realizes they have to take the opportunity to fight back that has been handed to them.
Now, as the sisters’ secrets wing their way to an unknown contact in London, Gaby, Martine and Simone have to wonder – have they opened a lifeline, or sealed their fate?
Readers can’t get enough of USA Today bestselling author Andie Newton:
‘A brilliant tale of resistance, sisterhood and dangerous secrets. Andie Newton is a master storyteller!’ Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker's Secret
‘If you believe every WW2 story has already been told, think again. This one is special.’ Paulette Kennedy, bestselling author of The Witch of Tin Mountain
The three Cotillard sisters were forced back from Paris to Boulogne-sur-Mer, where they did their best not to be noticed as they ran their seamstress shop in a town under strict German control. The desperation and fatigue that Gaby felt at their situation under the Occupied forces came across clear and strong from the opening chapters. There was an air of sadness about her, having left her musical life behind in Paris, but as the sisters made plans to resist, she found a new strength and purpose to life, despite everything she had lost.
The role the pigeons played as messengers, drawing information not from trained agents, but ordinary residents, was an unusual and different take on other historical novels I’ve read set during this period. The risks were high, but the sister’s determination and courage to fight, while at every turn the Germans seemed to be closing in on them, made for compelling reading.
Gaby’s piano music was the catalyst and driving force in this book and the connections and communication she made through her music were powerful, even those that caused distress and trouble for the sisters. Shunned by their friends when they had little choice but to obey the demands the Germans made on them, brought to life the pressures and conflicts that tore communities apart during the Occupation.
As the sisters were dragged into more and more dangerous situations, the twists and turns and ‘oh no’ moments came thick and fast. There were many occasions when it seemed their time was up, only for someone or something to step in unexpectedly, and suddenly who they thought they could trust, changed track once again.
This book has a different take on the risks and challenges ordinary people took to survive, and is one for those of you who enjoy historical fiction set during the Occupation.
About the author
Author Bio: Andie Newton is the USA Today bestselling author of A Child for the Reich, The Girls from the Beach, The Girl from Vichy, and The Girl I Left Behind. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her family. When she’s not writing gritty war stories about women, you can usually find her trail-running in the desert and stopping to pet every Yellow Lab or Golden Retriever that crosses her path. Andie is actively involved with the reading and writing community on social media. You can follow her on:
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French-themed reading bingo
This year I’ve set myself a reading challenge bingo, with twenty-five different types of French themed books to tick off. Having already ticked off “A book set during The Occupation”, this book, set in Boulogne-sur-Mer, will be perfect for “A book set on the coast”.
|Reading bingo challenge 2024