Book tour stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Daughters of War, a historical novel written by Dinah Jefferies.
First thing first, let me thank Anne and the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip*
MEET THE BOOK
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 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…
Publication date: 16/09/21
First book of a series
READ MY REVIEW
Cover: So evocative! I like it.
Historical novels are dear to me. Maybe it’s the mental gymnastics that’s required to fit a specific story into a bigger and fact-checkable context; maybe it’s history itself, a subject that first caught my eye decades ago, back in high school.
No matter. The opportunity to read Daughters of War came up, I snatched it in zero point five, and it turned out to be an excellent decision. Go me.
It’s 1944, we’re in occupied France, and we’re following the Baudin sisters, three young women who moved there from England.
The protagonists are well-crafted, and each of them has a distinctive voice. Hélène, Elise, and Florence couldn’t be any more different, even if they share some common traits: self-awareness, mindfulness, independence, and vulnerability, too. They read realistic while they cling to their lives and their place in the world, wanting to keep going even when everything around them seems bleak.
It’s not just the war itself; the sisters have to overcome personal losses, losses that come in different forms. While some parts can read as upsetting, Daughters of War might also be an uplifting story.
Many characters support the Baudin. If this book didn’t have three MCs, it would have been a tick in the ‘nay’ section; given its structure, a big cast is required though, and Jefferies showcases her writing skills in handling them all. There are a few loose ties, and I’m sure they’ll be addressed in the second installment of this series – in fact, I’m looking forward to seeing how a couple of things get solved.
Style-wise, the beginning reads a little slow, but it gains momentum soon enough. I would have shortened the exposition, I guess, even if this is a personal taste.
MEET THE AUTHOR
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.
Dinah and her husband spent five wonderful years living in a small 16th Century village in the Sierra de Aracena in Northern Andalusia, she’s now lives close to her family in Gloucestershire. She is published in 29 languages and over 30 countries.