The story begins in 1943 in Paris. Lana is witness to the brutal murder of her young husband, by an SS officer, for helping to hide Jewish children. Lana is quickly recruited to join the French Resistance and she travels to the French Riviera. Being the daughter of a Russian countess allows Lana to become part of the local social scene of Russian aristocrats and German officers, which includes Alois Brunner, the man who killed her husband. She pretends to be the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss businessman. The Gestapo has vowed to rid the Riviera of all Jews and Guy is committed to savings as many people as possible now with Lana’s help.
As Lana uses her background, beauty and intelligence to get closer to the Nazis to get details of their latest plots, she makes the dangerous decision to get close to a Jewish mother and daughter who cannot leave their home for fear of being seen by the Germans.
While Lana’s War delves into the horrible and cruel activities of the Nazi’s, it is a much lighter work of Historical Fiction than many other books that take place during this period. The addition of a love story provides a nice element of romance. There is intrigue as Lana has the eye of both Brunner and Captain Von Harmon but the story moves quickly so it never gets too suspenseful. It was nice to see Lana evolve and show great strength in her missions.
There is an interesting cast of characters. Some are clearly the “good guys” and others are beyond evil. But there are some people we aren’t sure about which was effective. Many people during this period were not who they appeared to be. Some sympathized with the Nazi’s while others worked unselfishly to stop them. The author did an excellent job creating a beautiful setting for the book – the beauty that hid the ugliness around them.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Atria Books and author Anita Abriel for the opportunity to read Lana's War in advance of its publication.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: January 12, 2021.
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