In this romantic drama set against the backdrop of World War II, a young woman and loyal member of the French Resistance seduces a Nazi in order to negotiate the freedom of a captive friend—though she finds herself falling for the enemy.
Simone and Marc Roussillon are a young married couple whose devotion to each other is only rivaled by their devotion to the Allied war effort. Simone serves as a spy, while Marc is renowned for his bravery as a pilot. When their friend Jean-Claude Jourdan is captured by the Nazis, they decide to do whatever it takes to get him back—including sending Simone straight into the arms of Gerhard Hauptmann, a German officer sent to court Simone’s nuclear chemist father for the Nazi cause. Simone has her husband’s blessing to trick the German into thinking she loves him in order to convince him to barter for Jean-Claude’s freedom. However, no one anticipated that Simone would fall in love with the dashing Gerhard, who is less a monstrous Nazi than a loyal German conflicted by the Third Reich’s crimes. The passionate romantic entanglement brings the violence of the battlefield home to them all. Orsini (Bitterness/Seven Stories, 2013, etc.) pens a swiftly paced, action-packed story. Unfortunately, due to the main characters’ borderline-unbelievable physical perfection, athletic prowess, cultured upbringings and wartime heroics, it is hard to sympathize with them. Everyone is gorgeous and adept at horseback riding, skiing, shooting, flying planes and spying. The same flowery descriptive words are used over and over to reiterate these details, particularly the “rugged” attractiveness of both Marc and Gerhard. However, despite these weaknesses, Orsini’s knack for creating high levels of psychosexual drama, jealousy and tension, as well as a number of well-placed plot twists, will likely keep readers engaged right down to the explosive conclusion.
A violently emotional and occasionally over-the-top story of love and war.