I really enjoy a good World War II historical fiction story and Lana’s War by Anita Abriel definitely did not disappoint! This was a captivating story that takes place during WWII on the French Riviera with intriguing characters and wonderful imagery.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Paris 1943: Lana Antanova is on her way to see her husband with the thrilling news that she is pregnant. But when she arrives at the convent where he teaches music, she’s horrified to see Gestapo officers execute him for hiding a Jewish girl in the piano.
A few months later, grieving both her husband and her lost pregnancy, Lana is shocked when she’s approached to join the resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialize with German officers, including the man who killed her husband.
Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist and fellow resistance member, in whose villa in Cap Ferrat she lives. Together, they gather information on upcoming raids and help members of the Jewish community escape. Consumed by her work, she doesn’t expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl or wonder about the secrets held by the man whose house she shares. And as the Nazis’ deadly efforts intensify, her intention to protect those around her may put them all at risk instead.”
There were quite a few things that I really liked about this book. First, I enjoyed the fact that this book started off at a really fast pace, making this a fairly quick read. Within the first few pages, Lana’s world comes crashing down when she experiences the death of her husband and her unborn child at the exact same time. Shortly after, she receives an offer to join the resistance on the French Riviera that will change her life forever and then we immediately get to join Lana on her new adventure, which is regularly packed with surprises.
Second, the imagery. Anita Abriel did a fantastic job at illustrating both stunning landscapes and heartbreaking scenes in this book, allowing me to feel immersed in Lana’s world.
Third, the characters. I absolutely adored Lana and her bravery. She experienced such tragic loss and it was liberating to witness her strength and resilience from this loss, and ultimately helping to honor her late husbands life by carrying out his mission of protecting Jewish families from the Germans. Her heart was also incredibly pure and kind, and I love how her relationship developed with Odette, a young Jewish girl, throughout the story. I also really liked Guy Pascal and the relationship he developed with Lana.
Finally, the ending. I thought Anita Abriel did a wonderful job at tying up all of the loose ends. While I would have appreciated more focus on Guy and Lana’s relationship, that ultimately wasn’t the point of this story and I was still satisfied with the way it ended- it was beautiful and heartbreaking, yet fulfilling all at once.
If you’re looking for a new historical fiction story, or are relatively new to historical fiction and trying to step out of your comfort zone, I recommend checking out Lana’s War by Anita Abriel, coming out 1/12. Thank you so much to Atria Books and NetGalley for gifting me this eARC in exchange for my honest review.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: Lana’s War by Anita Abriel is best paired with Apple Pie Blonde Ale by Flying Dog Brewery. This highly enjoyable seasonal blonde ale is brewed with apples, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla and lactose 🍻