Books

Daughters of War – Dinah Jefferies

Occupied France in early 1944.

Three women, sisters, Helene, Elise and Florence living together at the edge of a village in the Dordogne.

Helene is a nurse for the local doctor and wants to keep everyone close to her safe.

Elise runs a little café which is at the centre of resistance work and she is determined to be defiant and help defeat the Germans.

Florence the youngest, tends to the home, the garden and dreams of the day that everything is okay again in the world.

As the book progresses, events occur which change the course of all these three women’s lives. A knock at the door brings the resistance far closer than Helene would like to their life. Sheltering someone on the run from the wrong side could lead to problems. Florence’s innocence is shattered and the behaviour of the girls’ mother has a lasting affect on them all, despite her being in England.

The book moves between the three sisters, as we see their perspective, their take on what is happening around them. There are some upsetting scenes, which the author doesn’t shy away from and the impact they had whilst I was reading made me recoil, but also knew that this went on and to have it brought to life off the page was quite disturbing but necessary to understand the impact of the actions of the few.

I have read and enjoyed many books set during the Second World War and this will be one that will stay with me for a while. It was interesting to take another aspect of the war; Occupied France and the French Resistance, and not use some of the well written about areas, to create a powerful and evocative storyline.

The skill Jefferies brings is the details into which she goes. From the descriptions, I knew the cottage that the three sisters lived in, the garden that Florence tended in all of it’s glory; the flowers, the food, the necessities that were needed to survive were rich in detail. Which when the horrors that were witnessed made them all that more impactful.

I am glad that there is more to learn about these three sisters, as there are many unanswered questions that I have and I cannot wait until I can be swept away again with such an impactful setting and story.

It is authors and books like this that remind me why I love historical fiction so much.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Daughters of War is out now.