My review today is for Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat, a page turning, passionate historical novel set amidst the hardship and secrecy of a village in German occupied France.
Céleste Roussel has to grow up fast. Her father has left to work in the German camps on the promise of wages to be sent home – money the family never receive. Her brother is arrested for resistance crimes and then the Germans mysteriously release her mother, despite evidence of illegal ‘healer’ activity. Céleste has a strained relationship with her mother but is desperate to help her brother and persuades those in charge to allow her to assist the resistance. Although they are reluctant she becomes a Red Cross volunteer working in the hospitals in Lyon as her cover and assumes a secret identity.
Céleste Roussel has to grow up fast. Martin, a German officer billeted in the village falls for her. She confesses this to her sister, a nun at a local convent where there are many hidden secrets, and she is encouraged to befriend Martin and use their relationship for information. However, can she cope with the depth of their feelings? Can she trust herself with the enemy? Can she ever fully trust him? Living a life with two secret parts proves to be a lonely challenge for Céleste but a carved bone angel talisman that has been passed down the generations to her offers her comfort and reassurance.
This was a time when people were living with secrecy, deception and daily hardships, as a village against the occupying enemy but at times against each other too. Liza’s writing brought these difficult times to life.
In this novel, Liza shows the resourcefulness that was demanded during the occupation and the inner strength and deceit that was necessary for survival. She highlights the fact that no one knew who to trust and that the need for secrecy become normal for so many during these years when village life changed so dramatically. As we meet the elderly Céleste at the beginning of the book, riddled with guilt following her actions during the occupation, I was always expecting the consequences to be disastrous but there were still unexpected plot twists right up to the end of the book. If reading about France during The Occupation fascinates you, this book is for you.
Wolfsangel is the second book in the L’Auberge des Anges series although I read it without having read book one, Spirit of Lost Angels set during the French Revolution. Both books are available in paperback and ebook format and links to Amazon can be found below. Liza is currently working on the third book.