4 Stars * * * *
Are you German or are you French? Are you working against Germany or for it? Are you telling me the truth, or are you a very accomplished liar?’
Lavender farmer Luc Bonet is raised by a wealthy Jewish family in the foothills of the French Alps. When the Second World War breaks out he joins the French Resistance, leaving behind his family’s fortune, their home overrun by soldiers, their lavender fields in disarray.
Lisette Forestier is on a mission of her own: to work her way into the heart of a senior German officer – and to bring down the Reich in any way she can. What Luc and Lisette hadn’t counted on was meeting each other.
When they come together at the height of the Paris occupation, German traitors are plotting to change the course of history. But who, if anyone, can be trusted? As Luc and Lisette’s emotions threaten to betray them, their love may prove the greatest risk of all.
From the fields of Provence to the streets of wartime Paris, The Lavender Keeper is an extraordinary, moving story of action and adventure, heartbreak and passion, devotion and treachery from an internationally bestselling author
I enjoy Historical novels. Fiona McIntosh has provided us with The Lavender Keeper and it is an excellent historical novel with a love triangle to keep the interest rolling along.
Set in the beautiful Provence region of Occupied France in the 1940’s, we meet Luc Bonet, a lavender farmer, a man of the land living his life by the seasons. Life has not yet been interrupted by the cruelty of the war. However, within the space of a week his world is shattered. He learns that his adoption at a young age has a bizarre twist. Born of a German/French couple he is German living in France with a Jewish family. Suddenly his family is wrenched from him to be sent to a Labour camp, his beloved grandmother is murdered and in desperation he leaves his farm and he joins the Marquis as a resistance fighter for France.
At the same time an orphaned young girl, Lisette Forester is coming to terms with the complications of being French and living in Britain. Lisette too, has a French/German parentage and her fluency in both languages has made her an attractive recruit for the espionage network of Britain. Following her training she is sent to France with the mission to attract the attention of Colonel Markus Kilien, highly respected German officer who has become dis-affected with Hitler’s war. In the process of travelling to Paris she crosses paths with Luc and an immediate attraction has occurred. They fall in love, but both have a mission in this terrible war and they part.
Lisette did not reckon the colonel being a charming and attractive man and before long she is in love with him too! Fiona has cleverly focused on the love triangle of Luc, Lisette and Markus, with the backdrop of the German Armies grip on Paris and France weakening, the imminent arrival of the Allied forces and the wrath of the French population. The ending is a twist and has ingeniously left the door open for a sequel.
The story and plot have been well crafted and has great depth revealing the pain and suffering experienced by the Occupied countries of Europe during that vicious war. I found the characters well developed and with an appealing insight into their personas. I particularly empathised with Luc and the terrible tragedies that he experienced during this conflict. He is portrayed as a strong, deeply complex and caring man who is asked to shoulder an enormous burden. Lisette on the other hand had a dominant pragmatism which perhaps prevented me from embracing her character.
An excellent book which has left me wanting to read the sequel.
My copy from Holdfast Bay Library. Adelaide
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