Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat


Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.

1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.

When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.

As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.

Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.

A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit. 

Perrat Publishing | October 1, 2013 |  324 pages

My Review

Wolfsangel is the second novel in Liza Perrat's L'Auberge des Anges series, the novels of which are set  in the fictional French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne during tumultuous periods of French history.  While the first book in the series, Spirit of Lost Angels, takes place at the height of the French Revolution, Wolfsangel takes place during World War II when France was occupied by the German Army.  The heroine of Wolfsangel is Céleste Roussel, a young woman with a fiery spirit who, determined to do her part to undermine the German occupation of France, joins the French Resistance.  Despite her dedication to the Resistance cause, Céleste can't help but fall in love with a young German officer stationed in her village.  Knowing romance with a German could undermine her efforts to help family and friends imprisoned by the Germans, Céleste must decide if pursuing a relationship with the German officer is worth the price she might have to pay for doing so. 

Much like she did with Victoire Charpentier in Spirit of Lost Angels, in Céleste Roussel Liza Perrat has once again created a strong, sympathetic heroine who readers will root for.  Céleste is a well-developed character, one whose passion for and commitment to the Resistance is always evident.   When it comes to Céleste's romance with Martin, the German officer who captures her heart, Perrat effectively conveys Céleste's internal struggles as she seeks to come to terms with her feelings for a man who she knows should only be viewed as an enemy.  As a result, the reader understands that Céleste's actions with respect to Martin are not undertaken lightly. While the romance component of the narrative wasn't my favourite part of the storyline, it was well-drawn, felt realistic, and never overshadowed the aspects of the novel I found most appealing: Céleste's involvement with the French Resistance and her attempts to help family and friends caught up in the harsh realities of the War. The threat of capture and possible death never deterred Céleste, her compatriots in the Resistance, or like-minded residents of Lucie-sur-Vionne from striking back at the Germans in any way they could.  I enjoyed learning of the ways in which French citizens sought to thwart the Germans.  Another aspect of this novel I enjoyed was how it showcases everyday village life during the Occupation and how citizens not willing to collaborate with the Nazis struggled just to make ends meet.  Most significantly though, I liked how the novel highlights the lengths to which ordinary citizens would go to help their fellow man, including complete strangers.  

Well-written, with an engaging storyline and interesting characters, Wolfsangel is recommended to anyone interested in World War II-era historical fiction. Although Wolfsangel is the second novel in a series, it isn't necessary to read Spirit of Lost Angels first as the events of each novel are separated by 150 years.  For those interested in learning more about the first novel, which I can also recommend, you can check out my review here

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review 

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