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Standard tales of Second World War women agents and resistance heroines resonate with courage, glamour, toughness and nobility in face of implacable, arrogant enemies. We know who are the good guys and the bad guys or gals. The storylines are straightforward, heroic and exciting to read.
Not so, Conspiracy of Lies. Complex, ambiguous, and full of surprises and twists. There is no doubt that Claire Bouchard is a courageous heroine, tough as tack at times, but simultaneously warm-hearted and self-doubting. And she has the great gift of love.
We first see her in old age as a rather nice Home Counties lady, albeit with a fairly sharp tongue on occasion. She grieves for her daughter’s hurt after the latter’s divorce, but is unstinting in supporting her. Their mutual love and respect is obvious, but Sarah is concerned when her mother suffers a heart attack.
Claire’s journey to northern France to confront the events that led to the attack reveals hidden secrets, not only about her wartime work, but a forbidden love. It also unpeels the hidden layers that she has so carefully built over her personality since the war.
Kathryn Gauci has obviously done her research on France, the grim reality of life there during the German presence, the fluidity of the relations between occupiers and occupied. The period detail is a pleasure to read; I loved the references to Eva’s disregard of Third Reich strictures on German women’s clothing!
The pace is sometimes measured, other times punctuated by scenes of intensity and action. I closed my Kindle with reluctance each evening and found it was after midnight each time. Beware, this story will grip you.
The ebook was well-formatted with an evocative, outstanding cover. In all, an extremely satisfying read.
© Jessica Brown
#DDRevs understand that minor errors with French and German expressions in an earlier edition have now been corrected
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