Title: “Violins of Autumn”
Author: Amy McAuley
Publisher: Walkers Children
Genre(s): historical fiction, young adult, some romance
Part of a Series: No
Why I read it: I entered a Goodreads giveaway and though I didn’t win, I was still interested in reading the book
Summary: In 1944, “Adele” parachutes into Nazi-occupied France with colleagues from the British intelligence organization. They run into the enemy almost immediately after and are rescued by members of the French Resistance. Adele is attracted to Pierre, the Resistance’s leader, and volunteers for a dangerous mission on top of the one from British intelligence. As Adele and her colleague press on to Paris, they rescue an American pilot who had to bail out behind enemy lines. She grows close to the young man before being thrown into the dangerous world of Nazi-occupied Paris. Will she succeed? Will she survive?
Review: Yes, I gave this book five moons. I cannot stop gushing about it nearly a year after I’ve read it.
Does this mean it’s a perfect book? No, not entirely. In a growing fad amongst YA writers, McAuley writes her story in first person present tense. This is one of my pet peeves—I dislike present tense. And in this case, I feel it is misused. The book starts with a prologue which makes it seem like everything else is a flashback. So most of the book should be written in past tense, in my opinion.
But the present tense does work in some ways. It helps heighten the danger Adele is always in. Things are happening in the here-and-now.
Adele is an interesting character, which helps as she is the narrator. The reader is drawn into her story. She is a young woman who has lied to risk her life for her country. And I think everyone has wanted to do something “grown up.” Has wanted to prove themselves and then found themselves in over their heads. Or for readers who want do something dangerous without having to leave the comfort of their couches!
I couldn’t label this a romance because it doesn’t meet the two qualifications set forth by the Romance Writers of America (RWA): 1. The romance must be central to the plot and 2. There must be a happy-ever-after or happily-for-now. Romance in this novel is merely a subplot. And, without giving too much away, there is only a possibility of a happy-ever-after but nothing definite. But it keeps up with the intrigue.
McAuley creates a Paris full of danger yet full of adventure. There is still the decadence one associates with Paris mingled with the struggles of a war-torn city.
Bottom line: I could pretty much gush on and on about this book.
Have you ever read a book you couldn’t stop praising?