#BookReview Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish

Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish

Summary:

1944: Newly recruited SOE agent Elisabeth Shepherd is faced with an impossible mission: to parachute behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France and monitor the new long-range missiles the Germans are working on.

Her only advice? Trust absolutely no one. With danger lurking at every turn, one wrong move for Elisabeth could spell instant death.

2018: Betty is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. With her carer Tali at her side, she receives an invite from the Century Society to reminisce on the past.

Remembering a life shrouded in secrecy and danger, Betty remains tight-lipped. But when Tali finds a box filled with maps, letters and a gun hidden in Betty’s cellar, it becomes clear that Betty’s secrets are about to be uncovered . . .

Nostalgic, heart-pumping and truly page-turning, OPERATION MOONLIGHT is both a gripping read and a novel that makes you think about a generation of women and men who truly knew what it meant to survive.

My Review:

I love nothing more than curling up with a fabulous historical fiction novel and if it is set in WWII more the better, then recently a copy of Operation Moonlight (Century Books) by Louise Morrish landed on my doormat and I was swept away in what is a beautifully written novel which is set in both the present day and 1944.

The year is 2018 and Betty is going to be celebrating her 100th birthday and it is her carer Tali who is there helping her ready to celebrate, but it is an invitation that arrives from the Centenarians Club that could well bring back memories from her wartime past that was shrouded in mystery. But it is when her carer finds an old suitcase than contains her past it all comes back to Betty when she would rather stay quiet.

The year is 1944 and the allies are preparing for D-Day and the hope of the free world resting on the soldiers about land on the shores of Normandy. Meanwhile Elizabeth Shepherd who is fluent in French has been recruited and trained by the SOE has been given a dangerous mission to be parachuted into  Nazi-occupied France to seek and report back on the long range missiles that the Germans are about to unleash that will cause death and destruction without being tracked.

So, what does Betty do? Does she go to the Centenarians Club to celebrate her birthday and everything that will entail? Can Tali persuade her to go and what of the contents of the suitcase? The memories are flooding back for Betty when she has been trying to forget the past and her role in WWII.

Operation Moonlight is a wonderful book, it is nostalgic and heartwarming but also gripping when we are taken back to 1944 and the night Elizabeth Shepherd was parachuted behind enemy lines for the first time, knowing that is she is caught she will almost certainly never see home again.

Louise Morrish writes beautifully and has crafted her story so well and the time frames come together well in what is a compelling novel of incredible bravery.

448 Pages.

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@LouiseMorrish1

My thanks to Isabelle Ralphs (Publicity Manager) and Century Books UK for the review Copy of Operation Moonlight by Louise Morrish Published on 21st July 2022 and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

Summary:

Paris 1944
A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined…

My Review:

A powerful and emotional debut novel set in Paris during 1944 at the height of the occupation by the Nazis and Santa Cruz in 1953. While Paris Slept (Headline) by Ruth Druart is strong on characters and time. It will tug at your heart and leave you breathless.

It has taken me a few weeks to try and find the right words to describe Ruth Druart’s breathtaking debut novel but here goes! Drancy which is a few miles from the centre of Paris was synonymous with the holding and transportation of Jews during the Nazi occupation of France. A railway station was close by and trains would be packed with Jews heading for the concentration camps such as Auschwitz would set off from here as the trains left, the platforms would go eerily quiet just leaving the belongings of those to be transported to the death camps and it is here at this station were the novel really begins.

A young Jewish couple are desperately trying to evade the Nazis by escaping but are discovered and arrested and sent to the transit camp in Drancy along with many other Jewish men, women, and children here they will await transportation to Auschwitz.

It is 1944 and Jean-Luc is working on the railways and with the transport trains leaving in the dead of night so there no witnesses to what is going on. When Jean-Luc is woken and taken to the station. From this moment on his life will never be the same ever again. When the wagons holding those to be transported are taken off a young woman thrusts a bundle into Jean-Lucs arms begging him to look after it and keep it safe.

Jean-Luc met Charlotte by chance that same year and now they are both entrusted with a possession that they must keep safe but means they now face real danger and must escape France if discovered they face certain death.

It is now 1953 and Jean-Luc and Charlotte are now living in Santa Cruz in California and they kept their promise to look after that bundle and he is named Sam. But now yet again they face real uncertainty when there is a knock on the door and their lives are torn apart.

While Paris Slept is a novel packed full of emotion, at times it is raw, but also there is incredible love and courage. Jean-Luc and Charlotte are two incredible brave young people filled with love for each other but also desperate to keep the promise and faced danger at every moment.

Ruth Druart takes the reader back to the dreadful events of occupied Paris in 1944 and then to Santa Cruz in 1953 and is beautifully written and crafted. A novel that will make you hold your breath as you turn every page. In the face of unbelievable terror there is hope for the future. Highly Recommended.

512 Pages.

My thanks to Headline for the review copy of While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart was published by Headline Review on 4 March 2021 and is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org