Daughters of War by Dinah Jefferies

It’s over a year since I’ve had the opportunity to read one of Dinah Jefferies’ wonderful books. Then I was reviewing The Tuscan Contessa in a post you can read here. Today it gives me enormous pleasure to share my review of Daughters of War and I’d like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of Daughters of War in return for an honest review.

Dinah’s’ The Tea Planter’s Wife was one of my books of the year when I began blogging in 2015, and you can read my review here.

Since then I was thrilled to interview Dinah here about Before The Rains and to review The Silk Merchant’s Daughter here and The Sapphire Widow here. I also reviewed Dinah’s The Missing Sisterhere.

Daughters of War was published by Harper Collins on 16th September 2021 and is available for purchase through the links here.

Daughters of War

France, 1944.

Deep in the river valley of the Dordogne, in an old stone cottage on the edge of a beautiful village, three sisters long for the end of the war.

Hélène, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening.

Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost.

And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free.

Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Hélène knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear…

The first in an epic new series from the No.1 Sunday Times bestseller, Daughters of War is a stunning tale of sisters, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France…

My Review of Daughters of War

War is raging as three sisters live through it in very different ways.

From the very first moment Dinah Jefferies wastes no time in plunging her readers right into the heart of the action so that Daughters of War captivates them immediately. The Second World War may be a well known era for historical fiction but Dinah Jefferies imbues it with a freshness and excitement that is superb to read and I adored this book.

The plot of Daughters of War simply zips along with the drama and ordinary daily life under Nazi occupation perfectly balanced so that this is a really fast paced, impossible to put down, narrative. What Dinah Jefferies does so well is to show her readers the brutality of war and its effect on the individual in a realistic way that is never simply gratuitous, so that the impact is felt all the more keenly. With beautiful writing, especially through descriptions of nature, to counteract man’s inhumanity to man, this means that there’s depth and maturity that gives Daughters of War a wonderful richness. Reading the book is a very visual experience and I could picture it all as if I were watching a film because the detail is so evocative.

The three daughters of the title Hélène, Elise and Florence are so credibly depicted as real, warm, vibrant people who transcend mere characters that now I’ve finished reading Daughters of War, I find them slipping into my thoughts as I wonder how they are after the events of the novel. Their very different personalities shine through the writing and Dinah Jefferies made me care about them completely. I desperately wanted a happy ending for them all, but you need to read the book to see if my wishes were granted. Similarly, the men in the book feel totally believable making for a very satisfying read. What I found particularly skilful in the writing was the way the girls’ mother Claudette influenced their lives even though she was physically absent from the story.

Obviously war is a major theme in Daughters of War, and I learnt new aspects that I hadn’t known about before which added to my enjoyment of the book. However, it is relationships, family, bravery, trust and betrayal, loyalty, love in many forms, and sheer human resilience that combine into a wonderful, maturely observed and eloquently presented narrative. I can honestly say that I lost myself in the story. It felt weird to look up and find I wasn’t actually in France with Hélène, Elise and Florence et al.

I think Daughters of War is the complete package and not to be missed. I thought it was excellent.

About Dinah Jefferies

Dinah Jefferies began her career with The Separation, followed by the number 1 Sunday Times and Richard and Judy bestseller, The Tea-Planter’s Wife. Born in Malaysia, she moved to England at the age of nine. As a teenager she missed the heat of Malaysia, which left her with a kind of restlessness that led to quite an unusual life. She studied fashion design, went to live in Tuscany where she worked as an au-pair for an Italian countess, and there was even a time when Dinah lived with a rock band in a ‘hippie’ commune in Suffolk. In 1985, the death of her fourteen-year-old son changed everything and she now draws on the experience of loss in her writing. She started writing novels in her sixties and sets her books abroad, aiming to infuse love, loss and danger with the extremely seductive beauty of her locations.

You can follow Dinah Jefferies on Twitter @DinahJefferies and visit her web site. You’ll also find Dinah on Facebook.

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