What’s it all about?:
Brussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias – Coco – Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you’ll be caught, but when…
What did I think?:
Thanks to my sister yet again for a brilliant recommendation, this book is set in Belgium during the second World War and our main character is a young girl called Nicole who dreams about fighting back again the Nazi’s. Nicole ends up joining a resistance group who plan dangerous sabotage missions against the German soldiers, which fills her with a sense of pride about playing her part to help her country. At first, she is given small, but still important parts in the group, for example transporting a message or working as a look out. When the leader of the group (alias Owl) sees her passion and bravery, she is able to complete riskier activities that may threaten her life and lead to capture and torture by the Gestapo.
I cannot rave enough about how amazing this book is but don’t want to give too much away! What did surprise me is that the author is well known for her fluffier “chick-lit” novels which aren’t really my favourite genre. but this is written in a completely different style i.e. NOT chick-lit and I thoroughly enjoyed it and in my opinion, proves she actually can write something a bit darker with a lot more depth. The character of Nicole was sassy and braver than any other fictional character I’ve come across. Seriously, I found myself practically screaming at the pages sometimes – “Don’t do it!” “Be careful!” and general “Aaaargh!” type noises, but this is all in a positive way, and proved that the story had gotten deep under my skin.
Carmen Reid writes with true brilliance regarding the German work camps, and the destitution and poverty of the individuals that suffered under the Nazi regime was heart-rending and poignant. Some of the scenes written about torture are almost indescribable as they are so horrific, and they filled me with such conflicting emotions, almost like a what would you do? situation. It was interesting to find out that the author’s grandparents fought on both sides of the war – one set was British, one set German, and it is easy to tell from her writing that she has insider knowledge on this account or has worked hard on her research. Full of action and thrilling, with both tender and terrible moments, this novel will stay with me for a while.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):