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by Gene Wilder

Pub Date: April 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-312-59891-4
Publisher: St. Martin's

More sentimental fiction from actor/author Wilder (What Is This Thing Called Love?, 2010, etc.).

Wounded in France on Christmas Day 1944, American medic Tom Cole is discharged from an English hospital for a one-week leave in London. A motherly nurse sets him up with a free room, plus directions on which play to see and which restaurant to eat in. She’s the second (after Tom’s commanding officer) in a series of subsidiary characters whose cozy benevolence is certainly striking in the midst of a world war. Indeed, an atmosphere of unadulterated sweetness enfolds this very slight tale of Tom’s romance with Danish refugee Anna Rosenkilde, whom he meets at the restaurant on his first night of leave. The only potential conflict—when Tom reports for an assignment in intelligence and discovers that Anna doesn’t work in Radar, as she told him—is quickly resolved when she suddenly disappears and Tom learns that Anna is an agent of the Special Operations Executive and has been arrested after parachuting into occupied Denmark. Naturally, Tom immediately gets permission to attempt to rescue his love from a Nazi camp outside Alsace; naturally, he speaks fluent French and German (Dad was Austrian, Mom French); and naturally, he springs Anna with just a few blasts of submachine guns—which come into play again when the nasty Nazis break into the home where they are celebrating Passover with the family hiding them. Tom is wounded as they are fleeing France, but that doesn’t stop him from insisting on returning when a British double agent reveals that the Frenchman who helped them has been captured. 

Treacly and entirely predictable, though it will no doubt appeal to undemanding readers looking for a warm and fuzzy adventure.