When Claudette Bourvil is recruited to the French Resistance the last thing she expects is that she will be sent to work in the heart of Paris to spy on senior Nazi officers.
Claudette learns how to survive in a city ravaged by war, where the citizens are murdered on the whim of the occupying force. Constantly under threat of discovery, and in danger of losing her life, Claudette risks everything when she falls in love with the wrong man, the worst kind of man.
Over seventy years later, in rural Oxfordshire, Connie Webber discovers seven letters linked to a famous playwright, Freddy March. The letters will eventually lead her to Paris where she discovers the horrific reason behind Freddy’s life long depression. As his mother’s story unfolds Connie uncovers a dark past that the city has tried to erase from history.~Goodreads Blurb
With a flip back and forth between chapters, the story line moves forward quickly and the reader is drawn into the worlds being revealed. Alternating between the lives of Connie and Claudette, we are thrust into modern day England and WWII Paris. Each one is trying to make their lives, dealing with struggle, love, and mystery. The writing style is lovely and would make for an easy transition to film. The subject matter in the WWII chapters is hard to face, but historically accurate. It is hard to understand how women could have survived in those situations. It leaves the reader with a moral question, wondering if they would have done the same, or if they could have changed things.
I would recommend this book for people who enjoyed Sarah’s Key, The Nightingale, Finding Rebecca, or Paris Time Capsule. The historical side is taken quite seriously yet never turns into a lecture or speech. The mystery wasn’t solvable in the first few chapters as I feared. I was surprised that this was first novel, it was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading more from author, Jan Harvey. Thank yous to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing’s branch Matador for allowing me to read this one so close to publishing date.
The Goodreads blurb about the author:Jan Harvey is an artist and author based in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. She is a tutor in creative writing, drawing and painting.
The Seven Letters is her first novel and now that it is published she will be working on her second, The French Apartment. Her books are unified by the city of Paris.
In her spare time Jan loves jazz, and likes to relax watching French Films and old black and white movies, particularly if they star Cary Grant.
Jan is married to Paul, she has one son, Max, and an extended family including two beautiful step-granddaughters.
She also owns a very badly behaved Flat-Coated Retriever called Byron.
Freelance Editor & Reviewer