About The Book
Paris 1944. To save her people, she served the enemy.
In enemy-occupied Paris, as the locals go to bed starving and defeated by the war, music and laughter spills through the door of a little restaurant, crowded with German soldiers. The owner Marianne moves on weary feet between its packed tables, carrying plates of steaming, wholesome food for the enemy officers. Her smile is bright and sparkling, her welcome cordial. Nobody would guess the hatred she hides in her heart.
That night, the restaurant closes its doors for the final time. In the morning, the windows are scratched with the words ‘traitor and murderer’. And Marianne has disappeared without a trace…
Years later, Marianne’s granddaughter Sabine stands under the faded green awning, a heavy brass key in her hand, staring at the restaurant left to her by the grandmother she never met. Sabine has so many questions about herself. Perhaps here she can find answers, but she knows she isn’t welcome. Marianne was hated by the locals and when Sabine discovers they blamed her for the terrible tragedy that haunts the pretty restaurant, she is ready to abandon her dark legacy.
But when she finds a passport in a hidden compartment in the water-stained walls, with a picture of a woman who looks like her grandmother but has a different name, she knows there must be more to Marianne’s story. As she digs into the past, she starts to wonder: was her grandmother a heroine, not a traitor? What happened to her after the tragic night when she fled from her restaurant? And will the answer change her own life forever?
About The Book
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I enjoy historical fiction, especially when I need a break from my normal choice of crime fiction. After reading this I’m starting to realise that I need to read it more. This was a novel that I really enjoyed.
Initially it is set in the 1980s when Sabine is handed the keys to her inheritance. She is baffled and then horrified when she realises that the grandmother she hadn’t known had been executed during WW2. When she meets up with Gilbert, who knew her grandmother well and suffered because of her actions she digs deeper and uncovers the truth about what happened. The narrative then switches to Marianne and takes place from the 1920s when she first moved to Provence as a child until the events that took place that led to her death. It was this part of the novel that I liked the most, showing not just the horror of the war but also the love, friendship and determination to get justice.
I have read quite a lot of books that take place during WW2 but very little that shows the hardship suffered by those who aren’t fighting and are just trying to cope the best that they can. The life that many were forced to live during the occupation gave me an understanding of the hatred towards Marianne for her business dealings with the German officers.
Marianne was a character I adored. Her love for her grandmother, husband, child and brother. Her friendship with the nun and her passionate fury for revenge. It was so sad that despite all of that there were others who had to suffer.
I loved everything about this novel and Lily Graham is another author who I’m looking forward to catching up on.