~ Book Blurb ~
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.
~ My Thoughts ~
When Jan Harvey asked me if I wanted to read and review her debut novel, The Seven Letters, I read a sample on Amazon, just like I would for any book I am approached about. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. The emotion in that very first page was raw and it was a real hard hitting introduction. I didn’t need to read much further to know that I really wanted to read the rest of the book.
Set between WWII Paris and modern day Cotswolds, The Seven Letters is a powerful story of love, war, bravery, survival and the effect actions taken during the war can have on future generations.
The emotion and, sometimes, stark images created by Jan Harvey’s descriptive story telling is most prominent through the historical chapters telling the story of Claudette Bourvil’s hard and courageous life. Recruited by the French Resistance, Claudette is sent to work undercover as a maid in a Bourdello (brothel) in Paris. She quickly realises that this is not the Gentleman’s Club the exterior conveys but it is, in fact, owned by the German Army, making the prostitutes and Madame Odile, working there, Horizontal Collaborators. Jan Harvey creates vivid and often harrowing images of how these women were treated by both the soldiers and the French citizens, some of which will stay with for me a long time.
The modern day story is just as powerful but eases on its intensity – which is probably just as well as I would have been a wreck by the end! From the very sad scene at the beginning of Connie Webber’s story, to the uncovering of Freddy’s family’s past, I was just as curious to find out how this part of the story panned out.
Jan Harvey has a way of writing with deep emotion and rich description whilst still allowing for the story to flow well and with ease. I really enjoyed this story and will definitely look out for future books from this author.
Thank you to Jan Harvey for sending me copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
~ Where to find The Seven Letters ~
~ Where to find Jan Harvey ~