About the Book:
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.
As in Anita Abriel’s debut novel, The Light After the War, Lana’s War focuses on WWII’s impact on women. Lana loses almost everything during the occupation, and with every loss, she must reinvent herself. While her character frequently seems young or naïve, she clearly has enough spunk and determination to carry on.
Author Abriel created interesting characters. She made me question almost every character’s motives and alliances. Even Guy, Lana’s assigned partner in the resistance, sometimes behaved in ways that made me wonder about his devotion to the cause. The setting quickly moves from war-torn Paris to the lap of luxury in Cap Ferrat, Nice and Caanes. The descriptions of exquisite clothes and jewels is juxtaposed to the extreme lack of essentials and the expensive black market.
Even though Lana is warned not to get emotionally involved in anyone, she can’t help but personalize the reason she is committed to helping Jews escape France. When the Germans take over occupation of the Cote d’Azur from the Italians, Lana’s mission becomes not only more important but more dangerous.
Ms. Abriel’s Lana’s War is French Resistance Lite. It is an easy-to-read historical fiction. I would have liked a little more of the resistance storyline. Lana’s budding romance is nice and anticipated addition. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but the end really didn’t work for me (I can’t explain why without including spoilers).
About the Author: Anita Abriel was born in Sydney, Australia. She received a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College. She lives in California with her family and is the author of The Light After the War which was inspired by her mother’s story of survival during WWII.
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