Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson


About the book:
A courageous young noblewoman risks her life to hide French resistance fighters; seventy years later, her granddaughter visits the family’s abandoned chateau and uncovers shocking secrets from the past.

Gisèle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family’s medieval chateau in Normandy. Now, with Hitler’s army bearing down, her brother and several friends are hiding in the tunnels, resisting the German occupation of France.

But when German soldiers take over the family’s château, Gisèle is forced to host them as well—while harboring the resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend’s baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child.

A present day story weaves through the past one as Chloe Sauver, Gisèle’s granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army. Riley wants to research Chloe’s family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored—her family isn’t Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn’t know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover…

With emotion and intrigue, Melanie Dobson brings World War II France to life in this beautiful novel about war, family, sacrifice, and the secrets of the past.

My rating:
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My thoughts:

Chateau of Secrets was a very good read. The story was very authentic and I felt for the characters. I liked how the book alternated each chapter between the past, Gisèle's story, and present day, Chloe's story (Gisèle's granddaughter). It was a great way to actually show what had happened to Gisèle during World War II; instead of just knowing what Chloe found out, we got to learn it firsthand.

The stories blended together wonderfully and both were so good. There were several times I got a little frustrated at the end of a chapter because I had to change to the other timeline, when I just wanted to keep reading that one! But, then I'd start the next chapter and feel the same way about that one. ;) Thankfully the chapters were short, so it switched between the two frequently. As I said, both stories were very good and gripping.

Overall, I loved the story and recommend it to mature readers due to some content (near rape, in addition to other things). I think fans of historical and contemporary novels will enjoy Chateau of Secrets, since you kind of get both genres in this novel. :)

**Just a note: there was one swear word ("D") in my e-ARC copy. I don't know whether or not it's in the finished version, but just thought I'd mention it.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

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