Out now in paperback and kindle
Published by Peguin
Forced to flee war ravaged Poland, Sara and her parents are offered refuge in a beautiful but dilapidated house in the French Alps. It seems the perfect hideaway, despite haunting traces of the previous occupants who left in haste.
But shadows soon fall over Sara’s blissful summer, and her blossoming romance with local villager Alain. As the Nazis close in, the family is forced to make a harrowing choice that could drive them apart forever, while Sara’s own bid for freedom risks several lives . . .
Will her family make it through the summer together?
And can she hold onto the love she has found with Alain?
Thank you to Chrissie @michaeljbooks for my #gifted copy and a spot on the blog tour today.
Although the characters are fictional the story of families fleeing Poland during the war is real. The author has created one of the most beautiful stories out of a tragic situation.
It’s 1943, Sara and her parents arrive in Nice after fleeing Poland. The house they have been allowed to stay in is so dilapidated but the family are grateful. The Village is overseen by the Italian Army but overlook newcomers turning a discreet blind eye. Sara is astounded by the freedom offered and savours everything, the shops, people dancing in the streets which the author writes each experience with warmth and great detail that you feel you are there at times.
Even though the family have escaped the atrocities in Poland, living in fear is still simmering in the background knowing that if the Nazi’s invade and capture them, death is a certainty being a Jewish Polish family. Sara’s mother still lives in the past but Sara’s father wants to make plans for the future and as a surgeon he keeps going missing in the night
As the story progresses, Sara becomes more confident and becomes a fundamental part of the village community, she gets a babysitting job then is offered a teaching job. Sara is an enchanting character and the author has developed her character wonderfully without it being forced or rushed, the transition from young girl to confident woman is heart warming. Sara embraces her life and the freedom she has taking in and savouring everything life has to offer her but is also an inquisitive person, asking a lot of questions surrounding the mysterious Allinghams whose house they are residing in. Any questions are rebuffed which makes her more curious.
There are different parts to the story as Sara’s story progresses from friendships with Sylvie and Albert, saying goodbye to her parents before the Nazi’s arrive and having to make difficult heart wrenching decisions and then where she eventually ends up in England. I don’t want to give key bits away as this would spoil it for future readers but every part of the story is captivating with such atmospheric detail.
The love story element of this story where Sara falls in love with a young man called Alain is not indulgent or never sensationalised. it just smoulders in the background which I thought was beautifully done.
I was completely immersed in this book and one of the most powerful and emotional stories I have read. A story of love, loss and bravery I was broken by the end. Definitely one of them books that you feel bereft afterwards.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough, I know book lovers especially historical fiction fans will adore this book.
Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps still most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books for both the adult and young adult markets. She is currently at work on her twentieth title.
When she purchased a rundown property overlooking the Bay of Cannes in France, she discovered on the grounds sixty-eight, 400-year-old olive trees. Once the land was reclaimed and the olives pressed, Carol along with her French husband, Michel, became the producers of top-quality olive oil. Her series of memoirs, love stories, recounting her experiences on her farm (The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, The Olive Harvest and Return to the Olive Farm) have become international bestsellers. Carol’s fascination with the olive tree extended to a seventeenth-month, solo Mediterranean journey in search of the tree’s mythical secrets. The resulting travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, have inspired a five-part documentary films series entitled The Olive Route.
Carol has also been invited to work with UNESCO to help fund an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean with the dual goals of creating peace in the region and honouring the ancient heritage of the olive tree.