Lana’s War audiobook
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I’ve read several historical fiction novels set during World War II, but I’ve never read one that focused on the French Resistance. Lana’s War does that, and it’s fascinating!
Lana is on her way to the convent where her husband, Frederic, teaches. She has wonderful news to share. But things take a horrible turn when he tries to defend a Jewish girl from the Gestapo and is shot dead for his efforts. Lana is devastated, and her misery is compounded when she loses the baby that she never got to tell Frederic about.
When Lana is offered an opportunity to work with the French Resistance, she decides to do what she can to help others. As the daughter of an Russian countess, she is in a unique position to mingle with the Russian expatriate community on the Riviera – a community that happens to rub elbows with a lot of high-ranking German solders, including the man who shot Lana’s husband. She poses as the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss businessman. Guy is also part of the Resistance, and he and Lana are to work together to help Jews escape the clutches of the ever-persistent Germans.
I can’t imagine being put into a situation where I had lost my husband and then had to pretend to be another man’s lover just a few months later. That’s what Lana had to do. Not surprisingly, her relationship with Guy was a little strained at first. Her impulsiveness early in the mission doesn’t help. She befriends a Jewish woman, Sophie, and her daughter, Odette, with almost no thought to the fact that it might draw unwanted attention from the Germans. To say Guy is unhappy with this would be an understatement.
But they work past the rough beginning, and Lana soon uses her assets to an advantage, attracting both the attention of Captain Von Harmon and Alois Brunner, the man who killed Frederic. She and Guy, working together, are able to capitalize on the Germans’ interest, distracting them from raids and allowing the Resistance to move boatloads of Jews out of the Riviera to safety in England.
Several moments in this book had me holding my breath as I moved from page to page. The tension was palpable as a game of German cat and Resistance mouse progressed. There were near misses and sticky situations, and it made for an engrossing story.
The descriptions of the French Riviera and high society there were just luscious. It sounds like it would be lovely to visit when there isn’t a war going on! And relationships seemed to fall into place rather quickly, but I understand that the urgency of wartime puts a new perspective on things. The budding romance between Lana and Guy adds a little lightness to a heavy time, and Lana’s heart for others motivates her actions, even when they sometimes seem to be the wrong ones.
My only gripe was the ending. I’m not saying whether it’s a “happily ever after” or not, just that it didn’t go in the direction I initially expected/hoped for. But again, in the context of war, and in the context of the characters being who they were, it makes a kind of sense.
Four stars for a fascinating story and a different point of view on the World War II era. Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for an advance reader copy.
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Lanas War by Anita Abriel is a story of loss, courage and strength in uncertain times. Paris, 1943, Lana Hartmann is a happy woman. Despite the Nazi occupation of Paris, she is on cloud nine. She is happily married to Frederic and she has learned that they are now expecting a baby. Her happy world ends in a heartbeat. While on her way to tell Frederic her happy news, she witnesses a SS officer shoot and kill Frederic because he dared hide a Jewish child he was teaching. Later that day, it becomes evident that she loses the baby as well. Fast forward three months, Lana is going through the motions of life when she gets the offer that will change her life. A man offers her the chance to stop the man who killed her husband. The French Resistance needs her help on the Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, she has the perfect background to socialize with the community of Russian aristocrats who socialize and sympathize with the German officers who occupy the area. Together with Guy Pascal, she gathers information and finds ways to bring the Jewish people to safety. She doesnt expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl left on her own. Will she succeed in her mission? Or will her attachments lead to her capture?
Lanas War is the second book Ive read by Anita Abriel and she writes a story that pulls you in and keeps you intrigued until the end. I enjoyed reading Lanas journey as she deals with the sudden loss of her husband and their baby. At the beginning of the story, she is a woman without a care in the world, despite the growing Nazi presence in Paris. As long as she has Frederic, she doesn’t care about anything else. She learns quickly that the war will touch you and everything you care about eventually. Shes prepared to do what she can to avenge her husband and their baby. I loved that intrigue and the uncertainty of who Lana could trust and who she shouldnt. Even as a member of the Resistance, is Guy a man she can trust with her life? The relationship between Guy and Lana was also great as they treated each other with cold indifference before they slowly learned to trust each other. The story was wonderful, filled with suspense and drama. I eagerly devoured the pages as I wanted to see if Lana completes her mission and survives. Unfortunately, I felt the ending was rushed but it doesnt take away from the story. Overall, I enjoyed Lanas War and highly recommended it. If you love World War II stories and stories about the French Resistance, you will enjoy Lanas War.
Lanas War is available in paperback, eBook and audiobook
Audiobook Lana’s War by Anita Abriel
Loved this book, a great story right to the very end. to the It was a journey of great story telling.
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