I have read and enjoyed a couple of Erika Robuck’s books over the years. She has proven to me that she is a solid writer who doe wonderful research on her historical fiction novels. So I am typically on board for a review whenever one of her books comes across my desk for review! I really enjoyed Hemingway’s Girl and the Invisible Woman, though I didn’t love The House of Hawthorne as I had hoped, it was still full of great research and things to enjoy.
When her latest novel came up for review, I was excited to see what topic and historical period she would go with next! The Invisible Woman was set in WWII and I recall how well researched and new it felt, even in a world full of WWII novels, Robuck’s stood out as memorable and well defined for me.
Women spy novel have really been a thing over the last few years and I love reading about some of these untold narratives in historical fiction. Even if they are fictional narratives many are inspired by real narratives and with that in mind I was super excited to read about the French resistance and some of the more clandestine activities that went on during the war!
1940. In a world newly burning with war, and in spite of her American family’s wishes, Virginia decides to stay in occupied France with her French husband. She’s sure that if they keep their heads down they’ll make it through. But as the call to resist the enemy grows around her, Virginia must decide if she’s willing to risk everything to help those in need.
Nineteen-year-old Violette is a crack shot with an unquenchable spirit of adventure, and she’s desperate to fight the Nazis however she can. When her mother sends her to find an exiled soldier, Violette meets the man who will change her life. Then tragedy strikes, and Britain’s clandestine war organization—the Special Operations Executive—learns of Violette’s dual citizenship and adept firearm handling and starts to recruit her. But Violette is no stranger to loss and must decide whether the cost of defiance is too great a price to pay.
Set across the European theater of WWII, Sisters of Night and Fog tells the story of two women whose clandestine deeds come to a staggering halt when they are brought together at Ravensbrück concentration camp (summary from Goodreads)
During the pandemic, I really found myself reaching for more ‘fluff’ reading but when I read books like this one with more substance and emotion, I am reminded how much I love a great emotional read! This book instantly stood out as memorable for me. Having read some of Robuck’s other books, this one for me was the stand out in a her books. It was well research (which I never expected less!), had heart, as well as some well developed characters! This book is based on real life events and I was so engrossed in the story and fascinated by the untold historical narrative, but the best part is, that while this book is based on a true story, it is very much a readable story rather than reading like a history book it reads like what it is—a fun fiction novel!
Having read a lot of other historical fiction books with the Special Operations Executive playing a part in the stories, I felt familiar with the SOE and some of the things that it did during the war, but reading about it here made it feel even more intriguing and interesting. I loved reading about both Virginia and Violette’s stories. Each character was very different but their drive and bravery had it’s similarities. I usually shy away from the term ‘gripping read’ but I think in this case it’s very fitting. Each character had so much courage and it’s rare for me to read a book where I can’t choose between the characters I love the most! Many times I find myself identifying with one character or another but in this book I found drawn and connected to bThis book is oth but in different ways.
This book is an emotional read. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotion, smiling, laughing, anger, sadness, frustration—-all of it. If you like your historical fiction with more heart and emotion then you will no doubt find lots to love in this book. I personally feel this is Robuck’s best novel to date. I love that she has really hit on a time period that she thrives in! I felt a little done in emotionally by the end of this book but in a good way. This is a book not to be missed by historical fiction fans. The stories of both Virginia and Violette are so compelling and intense, there is so much goodness in this one! Don’t miss it!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 1st 2022 by Berkley Books
ISBN 0593102169 (ISBN13: 9780593102169)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Berkley Book, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: historical fiction