Standalone Sunday is a feature created by Megan over at Book Slayer Reads, where we feature those standalone books that we love and want to recommend.
This week’s book is:
Published – 31st July 2014.
1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?
1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations.
There are a lot of mixed reviews for this book but I personally loved it. Whilst one gets a glimpse of Paris, it focuses more on the characters and how they’re responding to the changes in Paris during the Nazi occupation. This is what hit me because it is playing with the human cost of war and everything that is at stake. The writing may just be decent instead of fantastic but with stories like this, its simplicity is often the best way of focusing one’s attention on the power of the story and the characters’ journeys. I’m looking forward to reading more of Rachel Hore’s books and I know that this will be one historical-fiction I will gladly re-read.