Anita Abriel comes to the blog with a story from the French Resistance and one woman’s attempt to bring the war to an end with
Lana, a daughter of a Russian countess is married and living with her husband in Paris during the war. When she visits the school to inform him that she’s pregnant with their first child, she witnesses his murder at the hands of the Gestapo for teaching a young Jewish child. Devastated and shocked, she retreats with her anger and grief, only to lose the child and find no satisfaction in remaining hidden from the world.
Finding her entrée into the émigré community of Russians, many of whom are friendly with the German occupiers, she uses her birth and polish to infiltrate the parties, gathering information from the source as it were, in Nice. The first of many that I’ve read using a fortunate birth circumstance to gain access to information, this was also the first story I’d read that used widowhood and the ‘pleasures’ of the Riviera as a backdrop to the story.
Lana was complex, naïve, angry and often distracted by her own insecurities and emotions. Her narrative was a bit of an up and down story: her purpose was clear to everyone but her, and the continued worry that were little more than her own insecurities: not about the dangers she was facing in gathering information, but in the way she ‘received it’, with her own immaturity shining through frequently in her response to information gathered, or her own emotional wreckage. I’d wanted a stronger and more determined heroine, one not constantly distracted with overly immature displays of emotional stress (huffing, gulping, shocked). Even though the horrors, we all understand, were unlike and unfamiliar to all that had come before – there was something missing in the character that had me believing that she was able to perform consistently enough to make a difference. All in all, I didn’t love or root for Lana near as hard as I should have, as the urge to shake her was often stronger than her actions to bring down the horrible regime would allow.
Title: Lana's War
Author: Anita Abriel
Genre: European History, Family Saga, France, Friendship, Grief, Historic Elements, Historical Fiction, Political commentary, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: France, Sociological Relevancy, Suspense Elements, World War II
Published by: Atria Books
Published on: 12 January, 2021
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 17 minutes
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Paris 1943: Lana Antanova is on her way to see her husband with the thrilling news that she is pregnant. But when she arrives at the convent where he teaches music, she’s horrified to see Gestapo officers execute him for hiding a Jewish girl in the piano.
A few months later, grieving both her husband and her lost pregnancy, Lana is shocked when she’s approached to join the resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialize with German officers, including the man who killed her husband.
Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist and fellow resistance member, in whose villa in Cap Ferrat she lives. Together, they gather information on upcoming raids and help members of the Jewish community escape. Consumed by her work, she doesn’t expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl or wonder about the secrets held by the man whose house she shares. And as the Nazis’ deadly efforts intensify, her intention to protect those around her may put them all at risk instead.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.