Bobbie Ann Mason, brings us a new novel of WWII. You all know how much I adore a good novel of that period. I think this cover shows right off the bat that the sense of place is already set.
I have read a couple of novels across the years that have as the center of the story a soldier being sheltered from the Germans by members of the resistance. This one takes it to the next level. Entire families are being used to hide American pilots and get them to safety and freedom.
The place is France, mostly Paris, Belgium, and America. I will say that at first I was a big troubled with the use of letters to move the story back and forth. But there is not so much that it ruins the tale. And once the story stays in France, I became hooked.
Who was this girl with the blue beret? She was a young woman from one of the families who helped the soldiers escape. Her entire family was involved in the resistance. Marshall decides to return to France and the scene of the resistance to try to locate these people who had helped so many. This, after his wife passes away. And he is forced into retirement as a pilot because of his age.
There is a bit more information about the workings of the actual planes than I felt was needed to move the story along, but having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in and around Paris both during the war and later.
We have friends who own a home in the town of Angouleme. It’s set in the midst of the chateau country, a decent train ride from Paris. Angouleme is mentioned many times in the story. Makes me want to visit even more now.
Mason has used the addition of food and wine to entertain us here. Descriptions of local, perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables straight from the garden will always catch my attention. As will talk of local wines and aromatic coffee. She manages to weave these throughout each scene.
There are secrets kept until almost the end of the story. Secrets that I had not sensed existed. That makes Mason a fine story-teller in my eyes. She managed to keep me intrigued and turning the pages even through the parts of the novel that I felt were irrelevant.
If you’re looking for a good ww11 novel for the summer, this just might be for you.