counter create hit Her Darkest Hour - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Her Darkest Hour

Availability: Ready to download

'You and me - we're sisters, not enemies. We've got a real enemy at our door and we need to focus on that - together, united. I don't want to be fighting you as well.' In the small French town of Colmar, swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, and twenty-one-year-old Marie-Claire is in love. She will do anything for her childhood friend Jacq 'You and me - we're sisters, not enemies. We've got a real enemy at our door and we need to focus on that - together, united. I don't want to be fighting you as well.' In the small French town of Colmar, swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, and twenty-one-year-old Marie-Claire is in love. She will do anything for her childhood friend Jacques, including spying on her German boss, Dietrich Kurtz. Anything to make Jacques see her in a new light, as something more than just a silly little girl. But when Jacques rejects her, everything changes. Mortified and stung, Marie-Claire feels the need for revenge. She turns her back on those she loves and is catapulted into a new life. Her little sister Victoire is aghast at her sister’s traitorous behaviour, not least because Marie-Claire is endangering Victoire’s own life-threatening mission, hiding Jewish refugees in their mother’s wine cellar. And when Marie-Claire marries Kurtz, Victoire knows her relationship with her sister has been poisoned for ever. But when Victoire learns someone she loves is in terrible danger, her only choice is to trust the sister who betrayed her. Kurtz, Marie-Claire’s cruel and heartless husband, has key information and Victoire must persuade Marie-Claire to obtain it, even if it means risking Marie-Claire’s life. As secrets come to light and close bonds are broken, will the sisters be able to heal old wounds? An unforgettable and unputdownable story of two sisters ripped apart by World War 2. Fans of The Nightingale and The Ragged Edge of Night will fall in love with Her Darkest Hour.


Compare

'You and me - we're sisters, not enemies. We've got a real enemy at our door and we need to focus on that - together, united. I don't want to be fighting you as well.' In the small French town of Colmar, swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, and twenty-one-year-old Marie-Claire is in love. She will do anything for her childhood friend Jacq 'You and me - we're sisters, not enemies. We've got a real enemy at our door and we need to focus on that - together, united. I don't want to be fighting you as well.' In the small French town of Colmar, swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, and twenty-one-year-old Marie-Claire is in love. She will do anything for her childhood friend Jacques, including spying on her German boss, Dietrich Kurtz. Anything to make Jacques see her in a new light, as something more than just a silly little girl. But when Jacques rejects her, everything changes. Mortified and stung, Marie-Claire feels the need for revenge. She turns her back on those she loves and is catapulted into a new life. Her little sister Victoire is aghast at her sister’s traitorous behaviour, not least because Marie-Claire is endangering Victoire’s own life-threatening mission, hiding Jewish refugees in their mother’s wine cellar. And when Marie-Claire marries Kurtz, Victoire knows her relationship with her sister has been poisoned for ever. But when Victoire learns someone she loves is in terrible danger, her only choice is to trust the sister who betrayed her. Kurtz, Marie-Claire’s cruel and heartless husband, has key information and Victoire must persuade Marie-Claire to obtain it, even if it means risking Marie-Claire’s life. As secrets come to light and close bonds are broken, will the sisters be able to heal old wounds? An unforgettable and unputdownable story of two sisters ripped apart by World War 2. Fans of The Nightingale and The Ragged Edge of Night will fall in love with Her Darkest Hour.

30 review for Her Darkest Hour

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley, and Sharon Maas for my copy of Her Darkest Hour. When the German army arrives in Colmar a small town in rural France; they quickly take control of everything, property, food, wine, houses and farms. Swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, intimidating German soldiers are everywhere and the locals are scared. At Chateau Gauthier, Margaux lives with her two daughters Marie-Claire and Victoire. Her absent husband lives in Paris, basica Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley, and Sharon Maas for my copy of Her Darkest Hour. When the German army arrives in Colmar a small town in rural France; they quickly take control of everything, property, food, wine, houses and farms. Swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, intimidating German soldiers are everywhere and the locals are scared. At Chateau Gauthier, Margaux lives with her two daughters Marie-Claire and Victoire. Her absent husband lives in Paris, basically they live separate lives and their two sons Leon and Lucien are involved with the resistance. Margaux is a real character, she’s strong, determined, loves her children, her home and her country. Marie-Claire has a huge crush on her neighbor Jacques, he only thinks of her as a sister and he is horrified when she makes her intentions known. He, his sister Juliette, Marie-Claire, Leon, Lucien and Victoire all grew up together with Margaux being a mother to them all and he had no idea she felt that way about him. Marie-Claire leaves home in a big huff, moves in with her Aunt Sophie, begins working as a secretary for Dietrich Kurtz. Her little sister Victoire is horrified that her sister is working for the Germans, her family and friends consider her to be a traitor. When Marie-Claire becomes engaged to her boss, her mother Margaux wants nothing to do with her; her daughter is fickle, selfish and how could she marry a Nazi? I assumed the story would be about WW II, the French resistance and Margaux helping Jewish people escape. But most of the story is about the sister’s relationship, Marie-Claire’s toxic marriage and her evil monster of a husband. At times the story was confusing and it did however make me think about how many young French women married German soldiers, what their families thought about them and the repercussions. All opinions expressed in this review are my own,I gave the book three stars, I shared my review on Goodreads, NetGalley, Australian Amazon, Kobo, Twitter and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Set in Alsace, France during WWII Two sisters are torn apart by WWII. Marie-Claire works for the German army. Victoire is aghast at her sisters traitorous behaviour. Victoire hides Jewish refugees in her others wine cellar. The sisters are estranged from their father. He lives with his mistresses in Paris. Marie-Claire is in ,ove with Jacques. But when Jacques rejects her, Marie-Claire is out for revenge . Thisnstory is beautifully written and descriptive. The first half of the book, thenpace was Set in Alsace, France during WWII Two sisters are torn apart by WWII. Marie-Claire works for the German army. Victoire is aghast at her sisters traitorous behaviour. Victoire hides Jewish refugees in her others wine cellar. The sisters are estranged from their father. He lives with his mistresses in Paris. Marie-Claire is in ,ove with Jacques. But when Jacques rejects her, Marie-Claire is out for revenge . Thisnstory is beautifully written and descriptive. The first half of the book, thenpace was quite slow. The book has been well researched and very informative. There were a few characters I, liked but others I didn't like at all. Thisnstorybis told from multiple points of view. Thenstory tells the devastation living under the Nazt brought to one small town. I did feel the ending was a it rushed. I would like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Sharon Maas for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    I adore, admire and look up to this author. She is one of my absolute favourite writers - I read anything and everything she writes and needless to say she never disappoints. I know I always say this with every one of her books that I read and I always mean it but this is definitely her best book yet. Beautiful and powerful, heartbreaking and empowering. Just amazing. Very few authors have the ability to tell a wonderful story as well as teach you something but with Sharon's books I always come I adore, admire and look up to this author. She is one of my absolute favourite writers - I read anything and everything she writes and needless to say she never disappoints. I know I always say this with every one of her books that I read and I always mean it but this is definitely her best book yet. Beautiful and powerful, heartbreaking and empowering. Just amazing. Very few authors have the ability to tell a wonderful story as well as teach you something but with Sharon's books I always come away having learned so much. Especially hard to do when there are so many war stories and documentaries out there but Sharon does it effortlessly and with aplomb telling a stunning story and relaying a powerful message. Everyone needs to read this book now more than ever. If you are going to read one book during these strange extraordinary times we are all living through make it this one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Set in Alsace, France during WWII Two sisters are torn apart by WWII Marie-Claire works for the German army. Victoire is aghast at her sisters traitorous behaviour. Victoire hides Jewish refugees in her mother's wine cellar. The sisters are estranged from their father. He lives with his mistress in Paris. Marie-Claire is in love with Jacques. But when Jacques rejects her, Marie-Claire is out for revenge This story is beautifully written and descriptive. The first half of this book, the pace was q Set in Alsace, France during WWII Two sisters are torn apart by WWII Marie-Claire works for the German army. Victoire is aghast at her sisters traitorous behaviour. Victoire hides Jewish refugees in her mother's wine cellar. The sisters are estranged from their father. He lives with his mistress in Paris. Marie-Claire is in love with Jacques. But when Jacques rejects her, Marie-Claire is out for revenge This story is beautifully written and descriptive. The first half of this book, the pace was quite slow. Then ook has been well researched and very informative. There were a few characters I liked but I didn't like at all. The story is told from multiple points of view. The story tells the devastation living under the Nazi brought to one small town. I did fell the ending was a bit rushed. I would like to thank NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Sharon Maas for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you Bookoutre and NetGalley for a copy of Her Darkest hour by Sharon Maas. WW2 books are one of my favourite types of Historical fiction, so I was excited to receive a copy of this. In a little French town called Colmar the Nazi’s have arrived to take over the town. Marie-Claire lives with her sister Victoire and their mother in a winery. Their father is estranged and lives in Paris with his mistress. He sends highest fashion clothes back to Marie-Claire. Which makes her different to the o Thank you Bookoutre and NetGalley for a copy of Her Darkest hour by Sharon Maas. WW2 books are one of my favourite types of Historical fiction, so I was excited to receive a copy of this. In a little French town called Colmar the Nazi’s have arrived to take over the town. Marie-Claire lives with her sister Victoire and their mother in a winery. Their father is estranged and lives in Paris with his mistress. He sends highest fashion clothes back to Marie-Claire. Which makes her different to the other girls in her town. Marie- Claire is in love with her childhood friend Jacques. But, Jacques only love is to join the Resistance and fight for his country. After her advances to Jacques is ignored Marie Claire leaves and works for the Nazi’s and to have a better life but things do not go to plan in her life and it turns out for the worse not better. I have read many books of this types and loved them but for Her Darkest hour I struggled with this. I found the first two thirds of this more like a love story involving selfish Marie-Claire. Also, she thought of was herself, where everyone else was doing their bit for the war. I did not like her at all. I personally thought that there was not enough of content about the war until the last third of the book which I enjoyed. But I am really sorry but this wasn’t one of my favorites.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley, and Sharon Maas for my copy of The Darkest Hour. When the German army arrives in Colmar a small town in rural France; they quickly take control of everything, property, food, wine, houses and farms. Swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, intimidating German soldiers are everywhere and the locals are scared. At Chateau Gauthier, Margaux lives with her two daughters Marie-Claire and Victoire. Her absent husband lives in Paris, basica Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley, and Sharon Maas for my copy of The Darkest Hour. When the German army arrives in Colmar a small town in rural France; they quickly take control of everything, property, food, wine, houses and farms. Swastikas hang from lampposts, tanks are lined up outside the town hall, intimidating German soldiers are everywhere and the locals are scared. At Chateau Gauthier, Margaux lives with her two daughters Marie-Claire and Victoire. Her absent husband lives in Paris, basically they live separate lives and their two sons Leon and Lucien are involved with the resistance. Margaux is a real character, she’s strong, determined, loves her children, her home and her country. Marie-Claire has a huge crush on her neighbor Jacques, he only thinks of her as a sister and he is horrified when she makes her intentions known. He, his sister Juliette, Marie-Claire, Leon, Lucien and Victoire all grew up together with Margaux being a mother to them all and he had no idea she felt that way. Marie-Claire then leaves home in a big huff, moves in with her Aunt Sophie, begins working as a secretary for Dietrich Kurtz. Her little sister Victoire is horrified that her sister is working for the Germans, her family and friends consider her to be a traitor. When Marie-Claire becomes engaged to her boss, her mother Margaux wants nothing to do with her; her daughter is fickle, selfish and how could she marry a Nazi? I assumed the story would be about WW II, the French resistance and Margaux helping Jewish people escape. But most of the story is about the sister’s relationship, Marie-Claire’s toxic marriage and her evil monster of a husband. At times the story was confusing and it did however make me think about how many young French women married German soldiers, what their families thought about them and the repercussions. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and I gave the book three stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sue McQuaide Kitt

    Her Darkest Hour is a heart-wrenching story about WW2 set in Colmar, France. Two families who have always lived as neighbours, spend their lives as one family and are devastated when the Nazi’s invade their town and force all residents to change their names and live their lives as Germans. This story shows how tragically the war affected these two families and the different roles they played to do whatever they could to fight the war in their own way. I always love this authors writing style and ch Her Darkest Hour is a heart-wrenching story about WW2 set in Colmar, France. Two families who have always lived as neighbours, spend their lives as one family and are devastated when the Nazi’s invade their town and force all residents to change their names and live their lives as Germans. This story shows how tragically the war affected these two families and the different roles they played to do whatever they could to fight the war in their own way. I always love this authors writing style and characters, but of course in this particular book, it is not possible to like all characters such as the despicable and cruel Commander Dietrich Kurtz. A great historical fiction which I can recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Geha

    Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas Set during World War II in Alsace this is a story of choices and how they impact not only the person who makes the choice but also their family, friends, and community. Choices made in “the heat of the moment” tend not to have the same clarity and far seeing wisdom that those decisions and choices that are made carefully after consideration of all the known options. Choices indicate that there is more than one answer, solution or way forward. And in this book the c Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas Set during World War II in Alsace this is a story of choices and how they impact not only the person who makes the choice but also their family, friends, and community. Choices made in “the heat of the moment” tend not to have the same clarity and far seeing wisdom that those decisions and choices that are made carefully after consideration of all the known options. Choices indicate that there is more than one answer, solution or way forward. And in this book the choices made by more than one person have long reaching impact for many. I found myself being feeling that * Marie-Claire was naïve, selfish, emotional, seeking friendship and approval and more often than not made choices that left her less than happy * Marie-Claire’s family did not understand her * Jacques was more involved with himself and his cause than with the people he used to serve his “higher goal” * Kurtz was evil through and through * Side—supporting characters were expendable * War is evil * Victoire, Marie-Claire’s sister, did come through for her in the end * This was a dark gritty sad read that did not really make me feel good when I read the last page * Perhaps my past experiences with war impacted my reading of this book Did I enjoy this book? Yes and No Would I read more by this author? I would if the subject interested me Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy J RAREtte4Life

    Good story ...until the “epilogue”.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kourtney

    What a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale!!!! I am not a big reader of historical fiction, so I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get through it, but it was amazing! I couldn't put it down! The writing was so beautiful! I want to visit Colmar now! This is the story of a family that lived in Colmar during the German occupation. The story is told from a few different perspectives. The main perspectives the story is told from are the two sister's Marie-Claire, the eldest, beautiful sister and Victoire, th What a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale!!!! I am not a big reader of historical fiction, so I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get through it, but it was amazing! I couldn't put it down! The writing was so beautiful! I want to visit Colmar now! This is the story of a family that lived in Colmar during the German occupation. The story is told from a few different perspectives. The main perspectives the story is told from are the two sister's Marie-Claire, the eldest, beautiful sister and Victoire, the younger. At first, I hated Marie-Claire and her utter vanity, but as the story progresses you see her self-actualization and understand her plight more fully. Marie Claire's sister, Victoire is more level-headed and wants to help make a difference, but no one will allow her, because she's only 15. I loved how their relationship evolved through out the story. Along with the mother-daughter conflict between Marie-Claire and Margaux. The only thing that I would say is that the first 80% of the book could have been shorter. I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I look forward to reading more of Sharon Mass's works! A special thank you to NetGalley, Bookouture, and Sharon Mass for providing me with an ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Diane Secchiaroli

    Marie-Claire a flirtatious young woman from Alsace, France is forced to marry Kurtz, who has raped her. Kurtz is a Nazi commander in charge of one of the most brutal labor/ concentration camps in France, Natzweiler-Struthof. This is the story of her family and her sister Victoire and their interactions with the Nazi’s. There is an intriguing plot regarding family relationships as a side line. This was a great historical novel with interesting characters. The story is narrated by Marie-Claire and Marie-Claire a flirtatious young woman from Alsace, France is forced to marry Kurtz, who has raped her. Kurtz is a Nazi commander in charge of one of the most brutal labor/ concentration camps in France, Natzweiler-Struthof. This is the story of her family and her sister Victoire and their interactions with the Nazi’s. There is an intriguing plot regarding family relationships as a side line. This was a great historical novel with interesting characters. The story is narrated by Marie-Claire and Victoire.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stina

    Despite having "The Violin Maker's Daughter" on my TBR list I have yet to read it, so therefore HER DARKEST HOUR is my first read by Sharon Maas. I went in without any preconceived notions as I have done in the past, based on previous WW2 novels, and have been disappointed. Like most novels set during such a dark time in history, it is heartbreaking and bittersweet. I did, however, find it to be a little drawn out in parts and slow moving to begin with but the gallop to the end made for rive Despite having "The Violin Maker's Daughter" on my TBR list I have yet to read it, so therefore HER DARKEST HOUR is my first read by Sharon Maas. I went in without any preconceived notions as I have done in the past, based on previous WW2 novels, and have been disappointed. Like most novels set during such a dark time in history, it is heartbreaking and bittersweet. I did, however, find it to be a little drawn out in parts and slow moving to begin with but the gallop to the end made for riveting reading. Alsace, France 1939: When the German army arrive in the Alsatian town of Colmar in rural France, they quickly take control of everything - property, food, wine, houses. Swastikas adorn buildings and hang from lampposts and soldiers intimidate frightened locals into acquiescence. Juliette Dolch (a Frenchwoman whose family name was changed during the last German occupation) lives and studies in Colmar, residing with her grandmother...until she dares to stand up to a German officer who then takes it upon himself to requisition her grandmother's house and belongings for the good of Germany. Although they had the option to remain and share their home with German officers, Juliette and her grandmother then return to the family farm in the winemaking region of Alsace. At Chateau Gauthier, Marie-Claire lives with her younger sister Victoire and their mother Margaux at the family winery. Her two brothers Lucien and Leon are reportedly prisoners of war. Their estranged father lives in Paris with his mistress and is all but absent from their lives. He makes no secret that Marie-Claire is his favourite child, sending her high end Paris fashion clothes and expensive make-up in his absence. Though she lives at the Chateau, Marie-Claire works in Colmar at the Mairie which had also been requisitioned by the Nazis. Marie-Claire and her colleagues had a choice - to leave or to remain and work under German command. Marie-Claire, who is bilingual in both French and German, chose to remain. After all, it is only a job...and one that would give her the independence she craved. All her life Marie-Claire has been in love with her neighbour and childhood friend, Jacques Dolch. But Jacques sees her only as a sister and his only love is to join the Resistance and fight for France's freedom from the Nazis. When his sister Juliette returns, she too secretly joins him in the Resistance movement, along with her beau Nathan who is also Jewish. Then Jacques approaches Marie-Claire with the offer to work for the greater good for France by using her position as personal assistant to a high ranking German officer, Deitrich Kurtz, to filter information (many of which is highly classified) back to him via a third party (also in the Resistance). Marie-Claire is ecstatic. At last she can prove her worth and her love for him by undertaking this task for him...which provided them with a wealth of information. However, when she makes another seductive advance on Jacques, she is left humiliated and angered at his rejection once again vowing to cease her involvement in helping his movement. No one in Marie-Claire's family approves of her working for the Nazis but have come to accept it as a means to an end. It is a job, after all. But then terrible circumstances lead to an even more shocking result - Marie-Claire becomes engaged to her boss, Deitrich Kurtz, and the family is aghast at the depths to which Marie-Claire would stoop. Her mother Margaux wants nothing to do with her, despite her younger daughter's pleas not to be so hasty. In their mother's eyes, Marie-Claire was no longer her daughter. But life is not all that it seems to be as Marie-Claire, who once dreamed of nothing more than fleeing to Paris and living the high life, was to discover. Only her younger sister Victoire knew the secrets she kept to herself. Only Victoire knew her pain. Only Victoire seemed to care. For as Jacques had so blatantly put it "She has made her bed. Now she must lie in it." Literally. HER DARKEST HOUR had many facets and subplots that at times it was hard to keep up...but in the end, they all tapered into the most important one of all. What started out as a slow story about a self-centred, fickle young woman who thought of no one but herself ended up being one of survival. It ended cleverly and with a resounding cheer from myself as I discovered their fate. I couldn't decide whether I liked Marie-Claire or not. She was incredibly vain and selfish to begin with that she did end up in a bed of her own making in a way. But I ended up feeling for her and the predicament in which she found herself married to such an evil brute of a man. Victoire was probably my favourite. She yearned to do so much more for the Resistance and yet she was too young...but still her heart was in the right place. And in the end, she became the strongest of them all. An emotional story that is heartbreaking and bittersweet, HER DARKEST HOUR is a book that will break your heart as you find yourself completely immersed within this captivating tale of family, impossible choices and courage. Recommended for fans of WW2 historical fiction. I would like to thank #SharonMaas, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #HerDarkestHour in exchange for an honest review. This review appears on my blog at https://stinathebookaholic.blogspot.com/.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    What an immersive read! I loved being transported back in time through this narrative even though it wasn’t a time period that I would have loved to be part of. The first chapters of the book moved a bit slower but I was so hooked and took the time to just enjoy being lost in the words. These chapters were quite informative in setting up the background for the time period. No matter how many books I have read about the World Wars, I always seem to discover new things that makes me even angrier a What an immersive read! I loved being transported back in time through this narrative even though it wasn’t a time period that I would have loved to be part of. The first chapters of the book moved a bit slower but I was so hooked and took the time to just enjoy being lost in the words. These chapters were quite informative in setting up the background for the time period. No matter how many books I have read about the World Wars, I always seem to discover new things that makes me even angrier about the injustices experienced by many people especially under the Nazi rule. This time, I was shocked to learn that the French were forced to take German names under the Nazi rule. I enjoyed reading about the sisters. In the first chapters, I was intrigued by Marie-Claire who I thought was just a lost soul despite her beauty and airs of confidence. Throughout the story, I kept changing my mind about her alternating between liking her and loathing her in equal measure. However, I truly did enjoy the complexity of her character. I thought this was going to be a story about the atrocities of the Nazi regime the plight of the Jews but it ended up being more about the relationships about the characters. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it though. I loved the story-telling and descriptiveness of this poignant, well-written book. As already mentioned, I also enjoyed the fact that the story was quite well research and informative without taking away the entertainment aspect.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Park

    I’m a huge fan of this author’s historical novels so you can imagine how excited I was to hear she had another one out. Once again she has managed to write an atmospheric, heartbreaking and powerful book that I really enjoyed. The author fully transports the reader to war time France with her vivid descriptions of life under the Nazis. I truly felt that I was there living among the villagers myself, experiencing fear alongside them. It must have been an incredibly difficult time to live through a I’m a huge fan of this author’s historical novels so you can imagine how excited I was to hear she had another one out. Once again she has managed to write an atmospheric, heartbreaking and powerful book that I really enjoyed. The author fully transports the reader to war time France with her vivid descriptions of life under the Nazis. I truly felt that I was there living among the villagers myself, experiencing fear alongside them. It must have been an incredibly difficult time to live through and the author definitely shows that with her brutal and realistic descriptions which are quite hard to read at times. I couldn’t make up my mind whether I like Marie or not. At first I really disliked her as she came across as being quite vain and selfish but over the course of the book she grew on me so that I ended up admiring her for her bravery. The author has clearly done a lot of research and I loved learning about the little details of Marie and her sister’s lives like the clothes they wore or how they furnished their house. Overall I thought this was a beautifully written, heartbreaking read which had a powerful message at its heart. The first half of the book is a little slow as the author sets the scene but things soon pick up and I found myself completely absorbed into the story. Huge thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Bookouture for my copy of this book via Netgalley.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A beautiful and heart-breaking story of shattered innocence, twisted loyalties, the bonds that break and the enduring power of love, Sharon Maas’s Her Darkest Hour is a captivating historical novel set during the Second World War that is as impossible to put down as it is to forget. Life for the residents of the French town of Colmar has changed beyond all recognition. Swastikas hang from every lamppost, tanks are lined up outside of the town hall and German soldiers patrol the streets ensuring t A beautiful and heart-breaking story of shattered innocence, twisted loyalties, the bonds that break and the enduring power of love, Sharon Maas’s Her Darkest Hour is a captivating historical novel set during the Second World War that is as impossible to put down as it is to forget. Life for the residents of the French town of Colmar has changed beyond all recognition. Swastikas hang from every lamppost, tanks are lined up outside of the town hall and German soldiers patrol the streets ensuring that nobody steps out of line. For young Marie-Claire, however, the fact that her town has been taken over by the Germans is of no importance to her – not when she is head over heels in love with her friend, Jacques, for whom she would do absolutely anything – even spy on her German boss. There is absolutely nothing that Marie-Claire would not do for the man she loves with all of her heart. Marie-Claire would love nothing more than for Jacques to see her as the woman with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life with and not just the silly little girl who hangs around him all the time. However, when Jacques rejects her, Marie-Claire’s love is quickly replaced by a desperate and dangerous desire for revenge…. Her little sister Victoire cannot believe that Marie-Claire has turned her back on her family and her country. Marie-Claire’s betrayal has not only endangered all of their lives, but jeopardised her mission to hide Jewish refugees in their mother’s wine cellar. If Victoire is caught, the repercussions do not bear thinking about and her fear only intensifies when Marie-Claire marries her German boss, Dietrich Kurtz. Victoire’s relationship with her sister has been severed forever. Victoire cannot believe that her sister would stoop so low. Yet, Victoire knows that her new brother in law could well hold the key to uncovering some information which she desperately needs to rescue somebody who is in danger… Victoire had thought that she would never speak to her sister ever again. But with nobody to turn to and nobody she can trust, she finds herself reaching out to her sister and begging her to obtain the information she needs – even if this quest puts Marie-Claire’s life in mortal danger. With everything to lose and nobody they can trust, can the these two sisters manage to not only heal the rift that had torn them apart, but also do their bit to triumph over the enemy’s malevolence? Sharon Maas’s Her Darkest Hour is exceptional storytelling at its finest. Wonderfully evocative, searingly emotional and vividly researched, Her Darkest Hour is a book that will break your heart and have you reaching for the tissues as you find yourself completely and utterly mesmerized by this captivating tale of family strife, impossible choices and courage that I am still thinking about days after finishing it. High quality historical fiction does not get any better than Sharon Maas’ superb new novel, Her Darkest Hour.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)

    This was such a beautiful, moving and heartbreaking story. Set in World War II, as the Germans have taken over Alsace, the locals have to get used to their new German way of life, and some take to it more than others. Despite the fact that she is an Alsatian, Marie-Claire ends up working for the Nazi’s – which leads to more than she could ever have imagined. With her family fully onside with the Resistance, and acting as a safe house for Jews trying to escape, Marie-Claire is alienated from her This was such a beautiful, moving and heartbreaking story. Set in World War II, as the Germans have taken over Alsace, the locals have to get used to their new German way of life, and some take to it more than others. Despite the fact that she is an Alsatian, Marie-Claire ends up working for the Nazi’s – which leads to more than she could ever have imagined. With her family fully onside with the Resistance, and acting as a safe house for Jews trying to escape, Marie-Claire is alienated from her family and her sister Victoire. Victoire is a strong, young woman who wants to do her bit for the war, and when she finds out that one of her extended family is in danger, she has no choice but to reach out to Marie-Claire, despite her traitorous behaviour. As forgiving as she is, can she really excuse the things Marie-Claire has done……and will she help her? As time is ticking away, they must try to reunite for the good of their family. I was completely gripped by this story, and absolutely gobsmacked at times. Marie-Claire isn’t the sort of character you will easily like, but she goes through some incredibly tough times. Starting out as a somewhat spoilt brat who thinks the war won’t affect her, Marie-Claire ends up affected more than most in a horrible way……. Victoire, in contrast, is only a teen but is strong and brave, willing to do whatever she can to help her country and the allies. It’s lovely to see her grow as the war rages on. There are some remarkable characters in this.- Jacques, Margaux (a formidable woman!), Juliette, Nathan, Eric and Marcel….all who do their bit for the Resistance, and some pay the ultimate price. And as you would expect, with a WWII novel, there are some absolutely despicable characters who you will detest. Maas has done a fantastic job of researching and at the end of the book, shares with us which parts are true, and again it’s heartbreaking. Her Darkest Hour really bought to life what it may have been like to live in German occupied Alsace, what the locals had to put up with and what they lost at the hands of the Nazi’s. The story also covers a labour camp, and Maas has done this is a sensitive way. There are some subjects within the book that readers should be aware of. The story does cover rape and miscarriage, as well as the tragedies that we have come to know were carried out by the Nazi’s. Overall, I would highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It will set you on an emotional rollercoaster, shock you, break your heart, but also warm your heart in places. Covering love, friendship, secrets, family, betrayal, loyalty, sacrifice and reunion, this beautiful story should not be missed. I’m will most definitely be searching for more from this author, and looking out for future books from her.

  17. 5 out of 5

    loopyloulaura

    TRIGGER WARNING: this book is set during the second World War and contains upsetting details of Nazi atrocities Alsace has been overrun by the Nazis and its occupants are being forced to adopt German names and forbidden to speak French. Her Darkest Hour is the tale of the war experiences of the Gaultier and Dolch families. Marie-Claire is employed by the mayor's office which is taken over by Nazi officials which has awful personal ramifications for her as the war continues. Jacques and Juliette j TRIGGER WARNING: this book is set during the second World War and contains upsetting details of Nazi atrocities Alsace has been overrun by the Nazis and its occupants are being forced to adopt German names and forbidden to speak French. Her Darkest Hour is the tale of the war experiences of the Gaultier and Dolch families. Marie-Claire is employed by the mayor's office which is taken over by Nazi officials which has awful personal ramifications for her as the war continues. Jacques and Juliette join the resistance, whilst Margaux and Victoire assist Jews to hide and escape. With the benefit of hindsight, and my History degree, the feelings of fear and dread for the main characters are there from the beginning. However, it is the second half of the book where, once we have developed an emotional attachment to the main characters, we learn of the horror inflicted by the Nazis on the Alsace community. Marie-Claire is the main protagnonist. Beautiful, outwardly confident but actually desperate to be loved and belong. Her journey over the book's pages is the most life changing of all the characters. She is rejected by those she loves and, despite her selfishness, it is impossible not to feel sympathy for her predicament as her hope is destroyed. Some parts of Her Darkest Hour are difficult to read as the actions of the Nazis are so grisly, made even more so by the basis in facts that the author Sharon Maas has researched. I think the title of the book relates to both Alsace's darkest hour as well as Marie-Claire's. The ending is extremely abrupt and I was left hoping for a sequel to find out how the different members of the family rebuild their lives and fractured relationships. I would also like to see more of Juliette and Jacques' story as their timeline splits off and we see little of their experiences. Her Darkest Hour is a brutally good book, with strong characters and an excellent historical basis.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emma Crowley

    Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas takes us back to Alsace and the town of Colmar and the surrounding areas which first featured in The Soldier's Girl. In a way I felt this was a prequel of sorts to said book but of course it can be read as a standalone and for those who have already read The Soldier's Girl I think it will really enhance the overall story as lots of little connections are made and we get a deeper insight into familiar characters that we have already met. This time around there is m Her Darkest Hour by Sharon Maas takes us back to Alsace and the town of Colmar and the surrounding areas which first featured in The Soldier's Girl. In a way I felt this was a prequel of sorts to said book but of course it can be read as a standalone and for those who have already read The Soldier's Girl I think it will really enhance the overall story as lots of little connections are made and we get a deeper insight into familiar characters that we have already met. This time around there is more of a focus on the characters who produce wine at the Chateaux Gauthier and I found myself interpreting familiar characters and plots in a new and exciting way. Initially I did question whether this story should have come first but on reflection I think it was perfect to write the books in the order in which they are written as it allowed for a deeper exploration of characters who perhaps may not have gotten the limelight they deserved in the previous book. Sharon Maas states in her end notes and acknowledgements that this was never intended to be an account of the war more so it was to show how the war affected a family unit. So some people may miss specific details of the war but the last quarter more than makes up for this as things start to come to a head. This book is very character driven and you will sway back and forth in your opinions of characters, in particular for me this was the case with Marie Claire, one of the daughters of the household. She is very divisive and time and time again my opinion of her changed depending on which stance she was adapting and for what reasons. Some of her actions leave rather a lot to be desired. Christmas Day 1933 was the first time that Marie Claire realised she was deeply in love with Jacques, son of Maxene, the winemaker for her mother Margaux. But for Jacques the feelings are not mutual, their relationship is more like that of siblings. It's this rejection that will eat away at Marie Claire and will form the reasoning for many of her selfish actions throughout the book. The book moves forward at several junctures during the war years but not so that it becomes confusing for the reader. It needed to hop forward in order to cover the period of the war and how it deeply and devastatingly affected the family. I did think coming towards the end that there were several years to go and many explanations needed to be given and I wondered how this would come about? Of course it did but perhaps this need to fit everything in made the last quarter or so feel quite rushed considering the time already given to building up and developing the story. That would be my only minor issue with this book as overall it was a very good read and I felt I got to know the characters very well and it gave me a real broad picture of how the war impacted on the family in question not to mention all the sacrifices they made and heartache they endured. If you have the luxury of reading both of the books together I think you will get an even deeper sense of what the author was trying to achieve by writing these books. In 1940 the Germans march into the Alsace region and claim it for themselves. For many years this territory has swayed back and forth between France and Germany but now the Germans have once again arrived and are determined to stamp their mark on the area. People's names must be changed to German names, street names and signs are altered, the German flag flies at every corner, houses and food are requisitioned and the army sets up their headquarters in the town hall where Marie Claire works. She is one of the ones, thanks to her ability to speak German, who is kept on as a secretary to Commander Dietrich Kurtz. It is this betrayal by admitting she knows their language that will forever haunt her and it changes the course of her character throughout the story. Marie Claire was always the one who was different from her family. Her siblings Victoire, Leon and Lucien seem like alien people to her and she has no interest in the vineyard and wine business run by her mother. Her father lives in Paris and she dreams of leaving Colmar and travelling to live there with them. Marie Claire is one for the high life, she loves make-up, fashion magazines and all the top quality clothes her father sends to her. She has not yet reached the age where she can leave for the bright lights of a new city and this grieves her. Her family are aghast that she will work for the Germans and comply with their every command but really she has no choice. But in another way I felt she was doing it to get back at her family for not understanding her and making her feel like an outsider. But this is all in her head. Jacques is now working for the Resistance in France and he plays a pivotal role in wanting to bring the war to an end but will Marie Claire play ball or is she too far entrenched into the ways of the Germans? As a character Marie Claire was very hard to like. She seemed to have her head in the clouds and considered only herself at all times. She never took into account that all her various family members were doing their bit to see the back of the Germans. Rather she was selfish and was only satisfying her own needs. She creates a feeling of unease and foreboding through her actions that permeates the book. The situations she finds herself in are all of her own making and could have been avoided if she had more compassion and a greater self awareness of the world around her. Things become very sinister for her and her story takes a dangerous route but when push comes to shove will she do her bit for the right cause and will her family members help her out when she needs the most in the most desperate of times as she finds herself becoming deeper embroiled in the work of the Commander. I just thought Marie Claire was so self-centred and only conscious of her own wants and needs and really the war years were not the time to fuel ones own ambitions rather they should have put aside to fight for her country in any way she could be it big or small. It really annoyed me that she was neutral and never resisted what was going on. Yes at times she swayed back and forth but if I was looking at the overall picture my opinion of her as a character as whole would not be a positive one. It's a true sign of family love and commitment that although her family disagreed with what she went on to do that deep down there was still that love and affiliation lurking there for Marie Claire from her family members. I did wish that she would get over the fact that Jacques refused her and not hold it to heart so much. She needed to move on but the question remains whether she did this in the right manner or not? Juliette, who is the sister of Jacques, does play an important role in this book as she starts to work for the Resistance. Although I would have loved some more chapters from her viewpoint even though I understood the reasons for this not being possible. More so from a sibling viewpoint the focus turned to Victoire, Marie Claire's sister, who is aged 15 when war first breaks out. She longs to do her bit for her country and despite being so young she is much wiser and self aware than her sister ever could be. Over the course of the book we see Victoire turn into a remarkable young woman, with a sensible head on her shoulders. She is disappointed that Jacques won't let her join his resistance group. She would love nothing more than to be traversing the mountains helping Jews flee and seek refuge. But she heeds Jacques wise words and Victoire and her mother have an important role to play that although she feels she is not doing her bit really she is an important cog in the overall picture. Victoire was the total opposite to her sister and it was interesting to see how two completely people could come from the same family that stood for the same values yet they could go in completely different directions. A direction which would put plenty of people in danger. I loved Victoire as a character and even more so when her most crucial scene comes in the last quarter of the book. She pushed everything aside, her feelings and opinions and made the ultimate sacrifice. After all family does stand for a lot. I really enjoyed Her Darkest Hour I know enjoyed is the wrong word given the subject matter but still it is a very good book in the historical fiction genre based around World War Two. Sharon Maas is really finding her feet writing about this period and I hope there will be more books like this to come in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    A War Torn Family I couldn’t stop reading this book. I have definitely found a new author, I will be reading more. I needed Kleenex with this one, it was a real tearjerker. This book begins at the beginning of WWII in a village in France. The characters involved differed in opinions over the war and whether or not the Nazis were evil or not, and how long they would remain in France. The main characters were Marie-Claire, Victoire, Juliette, Margaux, and Jacques. Against everyone’s warnings, Marie-C A War Torn Family I couldn’t stop reading this book. I have definitely found a new author, I will be reading more. I needed Kleenex with this one, it was a real tearjerker. This book begins at the beginning of WWII in a village in France. The characters involved differed in opinions over the war and whether or not the Nazis were evil or not, and how long they would remain in France. The main characters were Marie-Claire, Victoire, Juliette, Margaux, and Jacques. Against everyone’s warnings, Marie-Claire goes to work as a secretary for a high ranking Nazi officer. (which later proves to be a very bad choice). Jacques was raised next door to Marie-Claire , he was like a brother to her. Jacques was involved in a French resistance group as was his sister Juliette and Marie-Claire’s sister Victoire. Margaux was the mother of Marie-Claire and Victoire. This family was torn apart by the war. There was loss, death, a brutal marriage, and bad feeling between family members because of the war and actions taken by the characters . This included actions by the Nazi’s, a concentration camp, actions by the resistance, deaths, hating, loving, forgiving, and survival. It was a time of pain and heartbreak. A time of young people growing up hard during the war. Their choices and the realization that they had consequences. A family secret long hidden, and how it affected all persons involved. This book is brutally honest and realistic. It tells the story as it was in the time period in which it was written. The scenes and the fashion as well as the furnishings of the homes and locations are described in vivid detail. It is a hard period to read about but interesting as well. I liked reading about the clothing they wore and how they furnished their homes. Also the descriptions of the scenery. The characters are well developed and believable. The story is well written. It is definitely a page turner and I would recommend it. Thanks to Sharon Maas, Bookouture, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of the book in return for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    One small French town, in World War II, two very different women who had to navigate the trails and tribulations of Nazi invasion formed the basis of Her Darkest Hour. Marie-Claire was not a woman you instantly liked, her vanity, naivety and failure to see the Nazi’s as anything but an opportunity for herself, were a sharp contrast to that of her younger sister Victoire. You felt Victoire should have been the eldest, her ability to see the harm and destruction to come, her willingness to help the One small French town, in World War II, two very different women who had to navigate the trails and tribulations of Nazi invasion formed the basis of Her Darkest Hour. Marie-Claire was not a woman you instantly liked, her vanity, naivety and failure to see the Nazi’s as anything but an opportunity for herself, were a sharp contrast to that of her younger sister Victoire. You felt Victoire should have been the eldest, her ability to see the harm and destruction to come, her willingness to help the resistance and complete disregard for her own appearance were almost her ticket to safety as she lingered under the radar, her involvement with the resistance hidden. To our surprise, Maas, turned the story on its end and we watched in horror as Marie-Claire, egged on by her German colleagues, lit a flame that threatened to burn and destroy her. You wanted to shout at her to step back, listen to her inner voice that somehow knew what she was doing was wrong, but as always in life, events take over, and you have to make the best of a bad situation. In some ways it was almost a blessing, as Marie-Claire found inner resolve, determination, and bravery in pursuit of freedom and escape back to her family. Maas made you think about all the other women who would have had similar or even worse experiences as she did little to hide the atrocities inflected by the Nazi’s. For Victoire, her sisters actions were a betrayal and Maas widened the already deep gulf that existed between them. You wondered if they would ever reconcile, if pride would stand in their way or if events would force them back together. As the war progressed, as Nazi failure loomed, events escalated, the sisters were once again pushed together, as Maas gave us some heart stopping moments, and I held my breath praying we would get a positive outcome. Maas was brilliant at showing a France under siege, the effect on its people, the terror that existed, the undercurrents of resistance that slowly built as the war progressed. It was a claustrophobic feeling that you knew could explode at any moment and when it did it wasn’t pleasant to read, but necessary to convey the true horrors. What I did admire was how Maas managed to cover the entire war, gave us intense snapshots as characters grappled with their feelings, with the dangers thrust upon them, without asking for our pity, instead asking us to admire their resolve and tenacity. It was refreshing to see a war novel that focused on women, that gave them a strong voice, a voice that resonated. Her Darkest Hour was powerful and intense but full of hope and light in the darkest of times.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wasn't a fan of the book. I love historical fiction but this seemed more like a soap opera than a book about WWII. The characters were my least favorite part of the book. Pretty much I hated all of them, most of all Marie-Claire. There were so many characters between all the siblings, but Victoire and Marie-Claire were the only two the reader really got to know. We got a glimpse of Jacques and Juliette, but not enough. Lucien and Leon were just the brothers who ended up fighting for the French a Wasn't a fan of the book. I love historical fiction but this seemed more like a soap opera than a book about WWII. The characters were my least favorite part of the book. Pretty much I hated all of them, most of all Marie-Claire. There were so many characters between all the siblings, but Victoire and Marie-Claire were the only two the reader really got to know. We got a glimpse of Jacques and Juliette, but not enough. Lucien and Leon were just the brothers who ended up fighting for the French and then the Germans. They had no backstory. Pretty much everyone complained throughout the whole book. Victoria whined about being a girl and not being able to do what the boys were doing. Then there was Marie-Claire. I can't find one good thing about her. Her views about jewish people and how they should have left the town when they were supposed to, so it's there on fault for being arrested. She was so shallow and did the exact opposite of what everyone told her. She blamed everyone for the mistakes she made. She had no redeeming qualities. She tried to seduce a son and then his father. Then gets mad because a boy shows her sister attention. Marie-Claire was completely unlikeable. When the war was over, I don't think Marie-Claire would be welcomed back home by the townspeople. There seemed like there was so much missing from the book. I have so many questions about - the absent father living in Paris, the family hiding Jews, Margaux and Max dropping their secret to Victoire without much explanation. I did not know that the Germans made the people of Alsace change their names to something German. That was one interesting fact I learned. I loved the cover of the book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bookouture through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    A family divided by war. Margaux, Victoire, Jacques and Juliette are all determined to resist the Nazi takeover of their beloved Alsace. Jacques is instrumental as a local Macquis coordinator, Margaux and Victoire hide escaping Jewish refugees in the wine cellar of their chateau and Juliette is working undercover for Jacques. They struggle to accept the actions of Marie-Claire, whose ideas and beliefs have often gone against the family grain. More interested in her looks and the Haute Couture of A family divided by war. Margaux, Victoire, Jacques and Juliette are all determined to resist the Nazi takeover of their beloved Alsace. Jacques is instrumental as a local Macquis coordinator, Margaux and Victoire hide escaping Jewish refugees in the wine cellar of their chateau and Juliette is working undercover for Jacques. They struggle to accept the actions of Marie-Claire, whose ideas and beliefs have often gone against the family grain. More interested in her looks and the Haute Couture of Paris, than the outdoor pursuits favoured by her siblings, Marie-Claire is quick to accept a prestigious job working for the boss of the local Nazi administration. At first, when Jacques approaches her for inside help, she is frightened for her own safety, so refuses to assist in anything underhand, but soon events happen that cause her to turn away from her family. At twenty-one, she is both rebelling against her Mother, but also reaches a point where despite the dire situation she finds herself in, fear and pride prevent her from reaching out for help. With the story moving from character to character, we are with them all, every step of their Occupation journey. The exhilaration of achieving a breakthrough, the pride at being recognised and feeling worthwhile, the terror of attack, the fear of discovery, the humiliation as the realisation dawns and the grief at losing loved ones. This novel is packed full of emotions and love. This is a family who will never give up, no matter what obstacles come between them. If you’ve read The Violin Maker’s Daughter, also by Sharon Maas you will recognise some of the characters in this novel and I hope you will enjoy the overlap, and revisiting Margaux’s Chateau, as much as I did. If you enjoy historical fiction and family drama, this is one to add to your kindle this summer.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Marvin

    First I would like to thank Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy in return for my honest review. I have read a lot of WW2 era fiction so I was pretty excited to read this story. The synopsis grabbed me and I was all in. Let me start with the characters first. They lacked personality and depth. Not a single one of them was likable, not even Victoire, who I am assuming was suppose to be the sweetheart of the story. I couldn’t get past her whiny “I’m just a girl and they won’t let me do an First I would like to thank Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy in return for my honest review. I have read a lot of WW2 era fiction so I was pretty excited to read this story. The synopsis grabbed me and I was all in. Let me start with the characters first. They lacked personality and depth. Not a single one of them was likable, not even Victoire, who I am assuming was suppose to be the sweetheart of the story. I couldn’t get past her whiny “I’m just a girl and they won’t let me do anything blah blah blah” whoa is me schtick. Throughout the book her character doesn’t “grow” despite aging. The author has her attend nursing school but so vaguely touches on each topic in the story that you never get a sense of feeling for anything each character does. Then there is the other sister, Marie Claire, shallow as a crepe pan, which is used to describe her no less than five times throughout the book. It’s accurate though if nothing else. There is nothing to like about this character, she is materialistic, a brat, a betrayer and yes shallow. If that’s how the author wanted her to be seen as then bravo, nailed it. So many other things bothered me about this book as well such as the brothers that suddenly get released as POW by the Germans without a back story or explanation. That made no sense whatsoever. That would have never happened back then. I get that it is fiction but at least provide some plausible explanation such as they escaped. Then we have the story of the mother and the neighbor, Juliette, the absent father in Paris....what is that about? Overall I don’t think the description of the book properly describes the book itself. It really wasn’t about Victoire and Marie Claire’s relationship until the last 10% of the book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Marvin

    First I would like to thank Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy in return for my honest review. I have read a lot of WW2 era fiction so I was pretty excited to read this story. The synopsis grabbed me and I was all in. Let me start with the characters first. They lacked personality and depth. Not a single one of them was likable, not even Victoire, who I am assuming was suppose to be the sweetheart of the story. I couldn’t get past her whiny “I’m just a girl and they won’t let me do an First I would like to thank Netgalley and the author for an advanced copy in return for my honest review. I have read a lot of WW2 era fiction so I was pretty excited to read this story. The synopsis grabbed me and I was all in. Let me start with the characters first. They lacked personality and depth. Not a single one of them was likable, not even Victoire, who I am assuming was suppose to be the sweetheart of the story. I couldn’t get past her whiny “I’m just a girl and they won’t let me do anything blah blah blah” whoa is me schtick. Throughout the book her character doesn’t “grow” despite aging. The author has her attend nursing school but so vaguely touches on each topic in the story that you never get a sense of feeling for anything each character does. Then there is the other sister, Marie Claire, shallow as a crepe pan, which is used to describe her no less than five times throughout the book. It’s accurate though if nothing else. There is nothing to like about this character, she is materialistic, a brat, a betrayer and yes shallow. If that’s how the author wanted her to be seen as then bravo, nailed it. So many other things bothered me about this book as well such as the brothers that suddenly get released as POW by the Germans without a back story or explanation. That made no sense whatsoever. That would have never happened back then. I get that it is fiction but at least provide some plausible explanation such as they escaped. Then we have the story of the mother and the neighbor, Juliette, the absent father in Paris....what is that about? Overall I don’t think the description of the book properly describes the book itself. It really wasn’t about Victoire and Marie Claire’s relationship until the last 10% of the book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I would like to begin by thanking NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Sharon Maas for the opportunity to read this book. I have read numerous books centred on WWII and it was refreshing to read one that was centred on one city, giving me insight on how the war affected Alsace. I did not know how much Alsace suffered during WWI and how they had been forced to become German instead of French. To lose your identity not only once but yet again during WWII must have been horrible. I found many of th I would like to begin by thanking NetGalley, Bookouture and the author Sharon Maas for the opportunity to read this book. I have read numerous books centred on WWII and it was refreshing to read one that was centred on one city, giving me insight on how the war affected Alsace. I did not know how much Alsace suffered during WWI and how they had been forced to become German instead of French. To lose your identity not only once but yet again during WWII must have been horrible. I found many of the characters in this book difficult to like. Marie-Claire appeared to be shallow in the beginning but her character didn’t seem believable as the book wore on, she couldn’t have been that shallow to not believe or recognize the harm the Nazis were doing. Further on she became more realistic but I found the author didn’t go in-depth enough with her or describe her well enough to make me feel for her. Jacques was also another character that seemed noble but was, in reality, an uncaring man. The characters simply lacked depth and I couldn’t feel for them. The book seemed to jump from one event to another without giving anything the proper closure. In my opinion it seemed that the author had a list of events she wanted to include in the book and shoved them in without blending it. Jumping though two years was another point that bothered me. I feel if each chapter simply went from one character to another it workday have made a better book. The idea was great but the follow through was not there. When I read a book I want to feel for the characters, I want to be able to place myself there and I couldn’t with this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vicky-Leigh Sayer

    Marie-Claire is in love with Jacques, but he sees her as nothing but a friend as they have grown up together and are more like Brother and Sister. Jacques is a member of the French resistance, and as the Nazi's roll into the small town of Colmar, he is ready to fight. Marie-Claire's younger Sister Victoire is determined to help those in the resistance and fight against the German occupation. When Marie-Claire goes back to work in her now occupied building under the command of Dietrich Kurtz, Vict Marie-Claire is in love with Jacques, but he sees her as nothing but a friend as they have grown up together and are more like Brother and Sister. Jacques is a member of the French resistance, and as the Nazi's roll into the small town of Colmar, he is ready to fight. Marie-Claire's younger Sister Victoire is determined to help those in the resistance and fight against the German occupation. When Marie-Claire goes back to work in her now occupied building under the command of Dietrich Kurtz, Victoire cannot pretend to be happy about it. But her sister speaks multiple languages and could be useful to the movement. At first Marie-Claire is keen to help, believing that it will impress Jacques, but she soon understands that nothing she does will make any difference, so she decides to make the best of a bad situation and befriend some of the others girls in the office. In doing so, she changes the course of her life forever. An unprecedented chain of events lead to her marrying her high ranking Nazi officer boss and moving away from her family and betraying her family, with her union to the enemy. Marie-Claire's choice unfortunately wasn't so much of a choice, as she would lead her family to believe and she regrets her marriage before it even happens, but she is trapped, and can do nothing to escape without her family's help. The question is, will they be able to come to her assistance when she needs them most?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sue Trav

    WW II era historical fiction is one of my favourite genres of fiction so I was excited to read this. The first few pages were so wordy. Overly flowery and descriptive. I actually thought "where was the editor to make this more concise?" at one point. I remembered that I was reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) and I decided to keep reading. I am glad I did. The writing suddenly changed and the book started to flow. I have not read any other books by this author but it seems some of her characters WW II era historical fiction is one of my favourite genres of fiction so I was excited to read this. The first few pages were so wordy. Overly flowery and descriptive. I actually thought "where was the editor to make this more concise?" at one point. I remembered that I was reading an ARC (advanced reader copy) and I decided to keep reading. I am glad I did. The writing suddenly changed and the book started to flow. I have not read any other books by this author but it seems some of her characters appear in her other books. Perhaps that would make them more likable (especially Jacques). I really enjoyed most of the characters but I felt that they could have been better developed for sure. I read why the author left out most of the details about the work camp and did not situate any of her story there. I can respect that but I would have liked more backstory on Marie Claire's husband's involvement. Yes he was a villain and we found out a few details about what was happening at that camp but I wanted more. I finished the book feeling unsatisfied. It seemed to have a lot of detail in the first half of the book and the last few years seemed rushed to me. I liked the story but never really connected with the characters. The only exception being Victorie.. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the advanced copy of this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Johnson

    Her Darkest Hour, by Sharon Maas Much thanks to Net Galley, Bookouture, and Sharon Maas for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book. A remarkable story of family, love and devotion during the Nazi rule in Alsace. Regardless if I liked certain characters or not, the author did a beautiful job of giving each of them very full personalities. This family endured both joys and sorrows during this trying time. Their lives were not easy. Hunger, grief, uncertainty and fear infiltrated thei Her Darkest Hour, by Sharon Maas Much thanks to Net Galley, Bookouture, and Sharon Maas for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book. A remarkable story of family, love and devotion during the Nazi rule in Alsace. Regardless if I liked certain characters or not, the author did a beautiful job of giving each of them very full personalities. This family endured both joys and sorrows during this trying time. Their lives were not easy. Hunger, grief, uncertainty and fear infiltrated their lives as the Nazis claim their portion of France for Germany. Despite their Catholic faith, they were not immune from the ugliness of the Nazi regime. They were forced to change their names, the language they spoke, give up nearly all of their farm animals and their exquisite wine from their personal vineyards was only allowed to be sold to Germans at a grossly reduced price. One theme that is constant throughout the story is a strong sense of family. This story evoked many emotions from me. I felt sad, happy, tearful, frightened, angry, nervous and relieved throughout the book. This is a well written book and a wonderful portrayal of the challenges faced by the people in Alsace during World War II. It is very worth reading. Kudos to Sharon Maas for her beautiful description of the Alsace area! Also, the ‘afterward’ is so worth reading.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Carr

    Two families closely connected and living in Colmar during the Second World War. Nazis take over the town and Marie-Claire finds herself on the opposite side as everyone close to her when she takes a job as a personal secretary to a senior Nazi. Marie-Claire’s mother runs a vineyard at her family chateau, her younger daughter Victoire is desperate to join friends fighting against the German Forces, but she is only a teenager and has to look after the animals and the Jewish mother and daughter th Two families closely connected and living in Colmar during the Second World War. Nazis take over the town and Marie-Claire finds herself on the opposite side as everyone close to her when she takes a job as a personal secretary to a senior Nazi. Marie-Claire’s mother runs a vineyard at her family chateau, her younger daughter Victoire is desperate to join friends fighting against the German Forces, but she is only a teenager and has to look after the animals and the Jewish mother and daughter they have hiding in a cellar underneath their chateau. Marie-Claire is beautiful and knows it. She’s always been in love with childhood friend Jacques. Jacques is in the resistance and that as well as watching out for those working with him is his focus. He rebuffed Marie-Claire’s awkward attempts to seduce him a few years before and when he does it again she is heartbroken and makes a decision that will take her life into a much darker place than she could ever have imagined. This is a story of friendship, families, the horror of war and how far people will go for their cause or to survive. I enjoyed Marie-Claire’s story was intrigued by Jacques and would like to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC copy in return for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    This is a really well researched historical novel and all praise to Sharon Maas for writing it. However, I found for some characters there was a wealth of detail and background and for others very little. I found this book quite difficult to read but I did finish it and again I put this down to the authors research. I knew very little about Alsace during the war and the lives of citizens there and in that regard the book was very informative and for me this was probably the best part of the book This is a really well researched historical novel and all praise to Sharon Maas for writing it. However, I found for some characters there was a wealth of detail and background and for others very little. I found this book quite difficult to read but I did finish it and again I put this down to the authors research. I knew very little about Alsace during the war and the lives of citizens there and in that regard the book was very informative and for me this was probably the best part of the book. Marie Claire was vacuous and unengaging and while her marriage was appalling I didn't feel in any way empathetic. Victoire was probably the best character but we never really got to see her courage. The book left me feeling dissatisfied and annoyed at the opportunities missed to develop characters - maybe too many characters involved. Certain relationships were never followed up and some back stories were never explored. Why was MC's father in Paris? Perhaps this book is part of a loosely connected series but didn't satisfy as a standalone novel.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.