Lana’s War by Anita Abriel
Paris 1943: Lana Antanova is on her way to see her husband with the thrilling news that she is pregnant. But when she arrives at the convent where he teaches music, she’s horrified to see Gestapo officers execute him for hiding a Jewish girl in the piano.
A few months later, grieving both her husband and her lost pregnancy, Lana is shocked when she’s approached to join the resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialize with German officers, including the man who killed her husband.
Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist and fellow resistance member, in whose villa in Cap Ferrat she lives. Together, they gather information on upcoming raids and help members of the Jewish community escape. Consumed by her work, she doesn’t expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl or wonder about the secrets held by the man whose house she shares. And as the Nazis’ deadly efforts intensify, her intention to protect those around her may put them all at risk instead. (publisher)
After Nazis killed her husband, Lana joins the French resistance hoping to avenge her husband and is told to get to the Riviera. There she is meant to pretend to be the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy businessman.
The book was fast-paced, quick read and was lighter in tone than most WWII books. It’s set in Riviera which isn’t the epicentre of the war and Nazis, which does make it less dark than most books. There were many times that I was frustrated with Lana and her actions during the book. Especially, in the first half of the book, she didn’t seem to fully understand the whole resistance thing with the need to hold secrets and not trying to involve everyone in it somehow. There was one character that I wasn’t sure if he’s good or evil, does he help the Nazis or not.
That the book was fast-paced wasn’t always a good thing. At first, Guy criticises Lana about everything and then just suddenly is in love with her. At times it feels like we jump in time missing more interesting incidents. Like when people are rescued to Switzerland. But Lana is just fretting at home and then it’s just said that the thing went well. I mean there goes a lot of interesting stuff that could have been implored. I’m in two minds about the ending. Didn’t hate it but didn’t like it either.
Published: Atria Books (January 12, 2021)