France, 1944. 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 bravery comes at a cost, and soon the sisters’ lives become even more perilous as they fight for what is right. And 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…
What I Thought:
I think I’ve read most of Dinah Jefferies’ books now, so it’s great to make the move with her to a new publisher and the beginning of a brand new historical fiction series.
As with Dinah’s previous books, Daughters of War is ambitious and covers an incredible amount of historical and personal ground, but at the heart of it, it’s the relationship between the three main characters that comes to the fore.
The three, young Baudin sisters having seemingly been left to fend for themselves in occupied France, by a mother with whom they have a somewhat fraught relationship. Based on what is revealed about that in the book, I would love to see that further explored in the two books that are due to follow this one.
During their time in France, Hélène has dropped into the role of mother figure, often at the expense of her own life and experiences, but when the war comes to their doorstep, she has to acknowledge that she is not in control of everything.
As always with Dinah Jefferies’ work, there is an immense amount of detail about the period and location, but it fits in seemlessly with what we want to know about the story – there is never description for description’s sake, and everything adds to the story and never detracts.
There are a few threads that clearly lead on to the second book, but most of what we would want resolved is resolved, making this book an incredibly rewarding read.
Daughters of War is published by HarperCollins.
About 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.
This post is part of the blog tour celebrating Daughters of War. For more reviews and exclusive content, check out the blogs taking part as below:
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book, via Netgalley, for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.