Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; The Girl From Vichy by Andie Newton, I cannot wait to share my review with all, and I also have an exclusive excerpt, but first I want to say thank you to Vicky at Aria Fiction for my complimentary copy and for the invitation to this blog tour.
The Girl From Vichy, Andie Newton
Genre; WW2, Historical Fiction
Release Date: 13 August 2020
1942, occupied France.
As the war in Europe rages on, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the new regime. The date of her marriage to a ruthless man is drawing closer, and she only has one choice – she must run.
With the help of her mother, Adèle flees to Lyon, seeking refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame de la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons.
While it is not quite the escape Adèle imagined, she is drawn to the nuns and quickly finds herself part of the resistance. But her new role means she must return to Vichy, and those she left behind, no matter the cost.
Each day is filled with a different danger and as she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.
Adèle must fight for her family, her own destiny, as well as her country.
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I tried to relax again, putting the woman out of my head long enough to think about the convent, but then someone yelled that the train was making an emergency stop. The train shimmied with a loud squeal, metal on metal, slowing to a crawl, and people popped out of their seats to move into the aisle. The woman gripped her book tightly, eyes strained, and then oddly relaxed like a lumpy blanket just as the French police burst through the doors at the end of the train car.
I bolted to a stand, clutching my chest, first from the sound and then from the looks on their faces as they ran down the aisle toward the other end, boots thumping with rifles slung over their shoulders.
‘What’s going on?’ I said into the air.
A burly gendarme with grit in his teeth pushed one of the old ladies back into her seat, but she stumbled, throwing a weak little hand against the window to catch herself, which made many of us gasp. More police rushed in and ran down the aisle, only this time the diplomats who’d been reading their papers trailed behind them like dogs on a tether.
The doors closed suddenly on both ends of the train car. A piercing quietness followed. Few people moved, aside from their eyes. Heat waving up from the tracks into our still compartment roasted us like chickens. A baby’s cry from somewhere buoyed the restless uncertainty ballooning among us all, then a whisper of sabotagers swept through the car almost faster than the heat, louder and louder until someone finally said, ‘Résistance.’
Résistance? I stood on my toes, trying to see into the other train car, when a man caught my eyes through the body gaps. ‘They’re invisible,’ he whispered, eyes tormented and grey. ‘Phantoms in the night and in the day.’
I gripped my pocketbook, suddenly feeling nervous, watching police run along the outer edge of the car, looking under the train as if there was something or someone to find. Seconds passed, holding our breaths, mouths as wide as our eyes, waiting for a shootout, arrest or both. Then the police stopped running, lit cigarettes and appeared to be chatting.
The whole train exhaled at once.
Some looked relieved nothing serious had happened; others chuckled as if watching the French police run around with nowhere to go was amusing and worth the trouble. The doors opened, sending a burst of fresh air into the train car. The woman across from me who’d seemed unnerved by the gendarmes rushing around was now in a tizzy, bolting from her seat and pushing herself into the crowded aisle. ‘If you please,’ she said, the heel of her clunky shoe smashing the top of my foot. ‘Out of the way!’
I yelped, though it did nothing but startle the old ladies next to me as she elbowed her way through the train car and past women and children as if she were the only passenger who mattered. I followed the pack, shuffling toward the exit, armpits near my face with hands pushing me on the back.
As soon as I read Andie’s debut; The Girl I Left Behind, last year, I was completely enthralled with her writing. I love her passion for the era and the stories she is telling which shines through every word, so I was super excited to be invited to be apart of her new book’s blog tour, I couldn’t wait to read this book and I am so pleased to say that once again Andie Newton has gone above and beyond with her excellent and atmospheric writing.
I am a huge fan of WW2 set novels which feature stories from the resistance, especially when those stories give voices to the brave women who gave and sacrificed so much to fight for freedom and peace. I can’t remember a day in my life when I haven’t been fascinated by the French Resistance – yes, it has to be said that my first introduction to them was through watching Allo-Allo as a child, but then I started learning more about these brave men and women who fought so bravely in the shadows and since I have devoured many – and I mean many books set during this era and then I discovered the brilliance that is Andie newton who has really given this genre a fresh new voice.
Set during the occupation of France where the country has been torn in two, there is the ‘Occupied’ zone and the ‘Free’ zone, but to be perfectly there is little difference as the man in charge of the ‘Free’ zone is actually collaborating with the German’s. In Vichy Adele is hating the new regime, she wants a Free France, she detests those who are collaborating with the German’s she is facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to one of those she detests the most, her only option is to run.
She flees her beloved Vichy and takes refuge in the convent of; Sisters of Notre Dame de la Compassion, what she doesn’t realise is that the sisters who actually helping the French Resistance and soon Adele finds herself enrolled into the cause. I can’t say too much about what Adele does and what happens as it would give too much away about the plot, but if you know anything about the French Resistance then you will have an idea of what’s to come and what Adele and the others in her group must come up against. There is
This is a stunning and compelling book, at times while reading it did bring a lump to my throat and I could feel my eyes going misty. There are times while reading and you become so absorbed into Adele’s story that you are gasping and you get goose-bumps, my heart broke so many times, Adele really goes through the mill she is one of the bravest women, she gives so much for happiness and love. This is right up there with three of my whole time favourite books of this time in history; Citadel by Kate Mosse, In Darkness Look for Stars by Clara Benson and Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky.
Overall, The Girl from Vichy is an emotional, thrilling, nerve-shattering and utterly engrossing story about a group of extraordinarily brave people doing all they can to fight a brutal regime and fight for freedom, they sacrifice everything for the good. This book is astonishingly beautiful, If you only read one book for the rest of the year, then do make it this one.
About the Author
Andie Newton is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She writes female-driven historical fiction set in WWII. The Girl I Left Behind is her first novel. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, ultra trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.