Saturday, February 27, 2016

Wolfsangel

Comme le temps passe! I first learned of this book, Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat, a few years ago on Tracy's blog, Pen and Paper.  The author very graciously offered to send me a copy after I left a comment on Tracy's blog.  I'm sorry that it took me so long to read it, and to feature it on my blog. There are too many books vying for my attention, and too many distractions, I suppose, in my life, online and offline.  However, I doubt that the absence of my review was missed; there are numerous well-written, glowing reviews of this book, including the one referred to above, several on France Book Tours, and others on Amazon.  (I'm not certain what I can add to this body of reviews, but perhaps as I write I'll make some discoveries.  That is always the hope.)

Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat is the second book in the Bone Angel  (L’Auberge des Anges) trilogy, which includes Spirit of Lost Angels (2012), Wolfsangel (2013), and Blood Rose Angel (2015).   I read this novel without having read the first book, which is set during the French Revolution.  Wolfsangel worked very well for me as a standalone.

"The little angel seemed to reassure me that even if it meant taking human lives, we were doing the right thing.  We had to drive the Boche away." 
~ Wolfsangel, Liza Perrat

Written in the first person, we meet the protagonist,
Céleste, in the first chapter of Wolfsangel, at the age of 89.  She's still anguished by awful memories of the German occupation in France during World War II.  In the second chapter, we're transported back to the beginning of this story, to Céleste's home, L'Auberge de Anges, in 1943. Wolfsangel is mostly set in Occupied France in the (fictitious) village of Lucie-sur-Vionne.  The young protagonist, Céleste Roussel, wears an angel talisman "bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen", for protection.  German soldiers have taken over the village, and Céleste feels compelled to join the French resistance movement, because she wants to help liberate occupied France.  But, love gets in the way.  She feels guilty and torn because of her growing feelings for an attractive German soldier with violet-blue eyes, Martin Diehl.

"As the coolness of the river numbed my burning feet, I recalled the pale German from the marketplace.  I'd spoken to Germans before, of course, but that had been my first real encounter with the enemy.  Like all the villagers, I'd watched them arrive earlier that year to occupy Lucie.  We'd all stopped what we were doing."
~ Wolfsangel, Liza Perrat

This creates an intense conflict for Céleste, and is central to the story.  Has she fallen in love with the enemy?  Should she join the French Resistance Movement along with her brother, Patrick, and his friend, Olivier?  She's distraught and confused, but determined to help.


Without revealing too much, there is much to relish in this book--forbidden love, a well-drawn cast of characters, beautiful, descriptive writing--and more.  Céleste is an engaging protagonist who struggles with her conscience.  Early in the book, she helps the Wolf family, who've escaped from the Gestapo.  She allows them to live in the attic of her home, against the wishes of her mother, a natural healer with an illegal business.  In some ways, her brusque mother is a mystery to Céleste, and there's realistic, palpable, mother-daughter tension between Maman and Céleste, which adds another dimension to this gripping story.


We know that war is awful.  As always, when I read book about World War II, I brace myself for the worst, for the violence I expect to encounter.  A phrase I first encountered during my middle-school years came to mind as I read this book: man's inhumanity to man.  The violence in this book is absolutely heart-wrenching, and because this book is based on the true story of what happened in 1944 in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in west-central France, it's all the more poignant.

"There is only one way in which one can endure man's inhumanity to man, and that is to try, in one's own life, to exemplify man's humanity to man." 
~ Alan Paton

Many thanks to author Liza Perrat for sending me her book, and for her supreme patience.  I would definitely read more books by this very talented author. 

Your comments are welcomed.   

15 comments:

  1. Oh Suko I know what you mean about not getting to reviews on time and then when you finally do you think what else can I write but I for one am glad you did write this one because somehow this book was not on my radar. The story sounds great will have to add it to my TBR list. Hope you are having a great weekend!

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  2. I know how it is to be backed up on your reading and not get book reviewed as quickly as you'd like.

    I hadn't heard of this series before and while it's not a genre I usually read, it does sound interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. I had heard good things about this book in several places.

    I agree that books like this can be difficult to take, I am finding that more true as I get older.

    With that, this book sounds very good.

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  4. Terrific review Suko! I'm going to add this too my reading list. It sounds like it has many timeless themes.

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    1. This is a great book, Pat!. I hope you will get a chance to read it.

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  5. A wonderful series, I'm so glad you got around to reading it.

    A problem many of us face and especially those who work/have families there really are too many books and not enough time.

    Thank you for the mention by the way.

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    1. Tracy, you're very welcome! Thank you for introducing me to this gifted author!

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  6. I don't think I've read any books which took place around the French Revolution. Glad it worked for you even though you did not read the first book - that's tough sometimes.

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  7. I have seen movies of this kind of conflict during the wa. So glad you like the book, Suko.

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  8. Excellent review! The premise for Wolfsangel sounds very complex and grabs my attention. I'll have to keep an eye out.

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  9. I read Wolfsangel as well and it really teared me up. I thought the author did a wonderful job. Glad you enjoyed it too.
    I have another in this series waiting to be read. Like you mention, there is just not enough time and there are so many distractions. I'm in the middle of a book now but I also have a few crochet projects I have to finish up.
    Enjoy your week!

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  10. Thanks for a fabulous review, Susan, and I'm glad you enjoyed Wolfsangel! cheers, Liza

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    1. Liza, thank you very much for stopping by! Your writing is truly wonderful. What a memorable story!

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  11. This is a genre that I really need to read more from! The book sounds wonderful and your review made me want to read it. Thanks!

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  12. Wolfsangel sounds like a book that I would really enjoy. I love complicated stories about WWII. Thank-you for the great review!

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