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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.3 out of 5
5 Stars
28 reviews have 5 stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Absolutely Beautiful!

    What a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale!!!! I am not a big reader of historical fiction, so I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get through it, but it was amazing! I couldn't put it down! The writing was so beautiful! I want to visit Colmar now! This is the story of a family that lived in Colmar during the German occupation. The story is told from a few different perspectives. The main perspectives the story is told from are the two sister's Marie-Claire, the eldest, beautiful sister and Victoire, the younger. At first, I hated Marie-Claire and her utter vanity, but as the story progresses you see her self-actualization and understand her plight more fully. Marie Claire's sister, Victoire is more level-headed and wants to help make a difference, but no one will allow her, because she's only 15. I loved how their relationship evolved through out the story. Along with the mother-daughter conflict between Marie-Claire and Margaux. The only thing that I would say is that the first 80% of the book could have been shorter. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I look forward to reading more of Sharon Mass's works! A special thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Sharon Mass for providing me with an ARC.

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    2 person found this review helpful

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  • A War Torn Family

    I couldn’t stop reading this book. I have definitely found a new author, I will be reading more. I needed Kleenex with this one, it was a real tearjerker. This book begins at the beginning of WWII in a village in France. The characters involved differed in opinions over the war and whether or not the Nazis were evil or not, and how long they would remain in France. The main characters were Marie-Claire, Victoire, Juliette, Margaux, and Jacques. Against everyone’s warnings, Marie-Claire goes to work as a secretary for a high ranking Nazi officer. (which later proves to be a very bad choice). Jacques was raised next door to Marie-Claire , he was like a brother to her. Jacques was involved in a French resistance group as was his sister Juliette and Marie-Claire’s sister Victoire. Margaux was the mother of Marie-Claire and Victoire. This family was torn apart by the war. There was loss, death, a brutal marriage, and bad feeling between family members because of the war and actions taken by the characters . This included actions by the Nazi’s, a concentration camp, actions by the resistance, deaths, hating, loving, forgiving, and survival. It was a time of pain and heartbreak. A time of young people growing up hard during the war. Their choices and the realization that they had consequences. A family secret long hidden, and how it affected all persons involved. This book is brutally honest and realistic. It tells the story as it was in the time period in which it was written. The scenes and the fashion as well as the furnishings of the homes and locations are described in vivid detail. It is a hard period to read about but interesting as well. I liked reading about the clothing they wore and how they furnished their homes. Also the descriptions of the scenery. The characters are well developed and believable. The story is well written. It is definitely a page turner and I would recommend it. Thanks to Sharon Maas, Bookouture, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • WWII story.

    I would like to begin by thanking NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Sharon Maas for the opportunity to read this book. I have read numerous books centred on WWII and it was refreshing to read one that was centred on one city, giving me insight on how the war affected Alsace. I did not know how much Alsace suffered during WWI and how they had been forced to become German instead of French. To lose your identity not only once but yet again during WWII must have been horrible. I found many of the characters in this book difficult to like. Marie-Claire appeared to be shallow in the beginning but her character didn’t seem believable as the book wore on, she couldn’t have been that shallow to not believe or recognize the harm the Nazis were doing. Further on she became more realistic but I found the author didn’t go in-depth enough with her or describe her well enough to make me feel for her. Jacques was also another character that seemed noble but was, in reality, an uncaring man. The characters simply lacked depth and I couldn’t feel for them. The book seemed to jump from one event to another without giving anything the proper closure. In my opinion it seemed that the author had a list of events she wanted to include in the book and shoved them in without blending it. Jumping though two years was another point that bothered me. I feel if each chapter simply went from one character to another it workday have made a better book. The idea was great but the follow through was not there. When I read a book I want to feel for the characters, I want to be able to place myself there and I couldn’t with this book.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

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  • Her Darkest Hour

    When the German army arrives in Colmar a small town in rural France; they quickly take control of everything, property, food, wine, houses and farms. Swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, intimidating German soldiers are everywhere and the locals are scared. At Chateau Gauthier, Margaux lives with her two daughters Marie-Claire and Victoire. Her absent husband lives in Paris, basically they live separate lives and their two sons Leon and Lucien are involved with the resistance. Margaux is a real character, she’s strong, determined, loves her children, her home and her country. Marie-Claire has a huge crush on her neighbor Jacques, he only thinks of her as a sister and he is horrified when she makes her intentions known. He, his sister Juliette, Marie-Claire, Leon, Lucien and Victoire all grew up together with Margaux being a mother to them all and he had no idea she felt that way about him. Marie-Claire leaves home in a big huff, moves in with her Aunt Sophie, begins working as a secretary for Dietrich Kurtz. Her little sister Victoire is horrified that her sister is working for the Germans, her family and friends consider her to be a traitor. When Marie-Claire becomes engaged to her boss, her mother Margaux wants nothing to do with her; her daughter is fickle, selfish and how could she marry a Nazi? I assumed the story would be about WW II, the French resistance and Margaux helping Jewish people escape. But most of the story is about the sister’s relationship, Marie-Claire’s toxic marriage and her evil monster of a husband. At times the story was confusing and it did however make me think about how many young French women married German soldiers, what their families thought about them and the repercussions

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  • Historical Fiction

    Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas Set during World War II in Alsace this is a story of choices and how they impact not only the person who makes the choice but also their family, friends, and community. Choices made in “the heat of the moment” tend not to have the same clarity and far seeing wisdom that those decisions and choices that are made carefully after consideration of all the known options. Choices indicate that there is more than one answer, solution or way forward. And in this book the choices made by more than one person have long reaching impact for many. I found myself being feeling that * Marie-Claire was naïve, selfish, emotional, seeking friendship and approval and more often than not made choices that left her less than happy * Marie-Claire’s family did not understand her * Jacques was more involved with himself and his cause than with the people he used to serve his “higher goal” * Kurtz was evil through and through * Side—supporting characters were expendable * War is evil * Victoire, Marie-Claire’s sister, did come through for her in the end * This was a dark gritty sad read that did not really make me feel good when I read the last page * Perhaps my past experiences with war impacted my reading of this book Did I enjoy this book? Yes and No Would I read more by this author? I would if the subject interested me Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars

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