Thank you to Anne of Random Things Tours and Harper Collins for the invitation to join the blog tour, and for a beautiful proof copy to read and review. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. The last book I read by Dinah Jefferies was The Tuscan Contessa (see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/08/03/the-tuscan-contessa-by-dinah-jefferies/).
France, 1944. Deep in the river valley of the Dordogne, in an old stone cottage on the edge of a beautiful village, three sisters long for the end of the war. Hélène, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening. Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost. And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free. Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Hélène knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But bravery comes at a cost, and soon the sisters’ lives become even more perilous as they fight for what is right. And secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear…
The first in an epic new series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller, Daughters of War is a stunning tale of sisters, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France…
I love becoming swept away in a good historical fiction novel and I’m pleased to say that this was an excellent historical fiction novel, that stayed in my mind when I wasn’t reading it, made me want to keep reading and made me cry in places.
Three girls have been living in occupied France during the Second World War. Their father died years ago, their mum is living in England and they are living in their former holiday home. Dinah Jefferies brought the Dordogne of the 1940’s alive (I did have to google where the Dordogne was in relation to areas of France I knew).
Hélène has had to grow up fast, to care for her sisters and her patients. She is more risk averse than Elise, who is determined to help the local resistance and community. Their little sister, Florence, loves to garden and cook, and wants to live in a world without the Nazi party.
This is an epic story (520 pages), but the story flew by, as we were introduced to the young women, their friends and their enemies. Sometimes it was difficult to know who they could trust, and it was heartbreaking to read stories of betrayal, violence and cruelty.
Alongside this, Hélène has flashbacks to her childhood and how her mother treated her daughters differently to each other. As the story developed, we discovered more about their past as secrets were revealed.
Happy to recommend this book about the bravery of the French people and their Allied helpers during a heartbreaking period of history. I’m awarding this book five stars.
Dinah Jefferies began her career with The Separation, followed by the number 1 Sunday Times and Richard and Judy bestseller, The Tea-Planter’s Wife. Born in Malaysia, she moved to England at the age of nine. As a teenager she missed the heat of Malaysia, which left her with a kind of restlessness that led to quite an unusual life. She studied fashion design, went to live in Tuscany where she worked as an au-pair for an Italian countess, and there was even a time when Dinah lived with a rock band in a ‘hippie’ commune in Suffolk.
In 1985, the death of her fourteen-year-old son changed everything and she now draws on the experience of loss in her writing. She started writing novels in her sixties and sets her books abroad, aiming to infuse love, loss and danger with the extremely seductive beauty of her locations.