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May 15, 2020

The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Her sister dropped dead in her tracks, her long silver cigarette holder dangling precariously from her fingers.  Her cherry red mouth formed a perfect O.  Seconds dragged by as Kat waited for German hands to grab her and toss her out.  This was a mistake.  She should have waited until morning to drag her wayward sister back across the Channel without the whole of the Third Reich watching."  (p4)

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April 2020; Thomas Nelson; 978-0785233527
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); historical fiction
The Socialite is an exciting book about Paris during WWII.  There are many ways to view this time period and this book shows us the differences between the rich and the poor, the way the conquering Nazis were treated, and the way the Parisian citizens lived and the vengeance of the Nazis vs the people working in the Resistance.  The characters were very well written and the plot was exciting and kept me turning pages to see how the book would end.

Paris 1941 - Kat, a rich aristocrat from Britain has arrived in Paris to rescue her sister Ellie.  Kat was always the perfect daughter who followed the rules of society while Ellie was the wild child who wanted to do things her own way.  Several months before Kat arrived, Ellie ran away to Paris and started living with a high ranking Nazi officer.   Ellie is living the life of luxury in Paris with Eric and has no intention of going back to Britain.  She is thrilled with her life - her jewelry and furs bought for her by Eric and the ability to attend all the good parties in Paris with the other high ranking Nazis and their women.  Kat despises the Nazis and knows that Ellie will be in deep trouble if she keeps following the lifestyle she is living.  Kat has the problem of keeping her feelings to herself while staying with Ellie and Eric.  Helping Kat out is Barrett, the owner of a bar that caters to the Nazis while working with the Resistance and training new recruits.  The more time that Kat spends with Barrett, the more that she is drawn to him even though she tries not to get involved with him, she does become involved with the resistance work that he was doing.  In his own way, Barrett uses Kat and her social skills to infiltrate the Nazi inner circle in Paris.  Even though he appears to be trying to help Kat and Ellie, he is hiding a secret from them that could ruin his growing relationship with Kat.

The four main characters of the novel are all leading totally different lives and working for different causes - Eric is a Nazi who strongly believes in the goals of the Third Reich, Ellie, his mistress goes along with whatever Eric wants, her sister Kat is against the goals of the Nazis and Barrett is part of the resistance who wants the Nazi regime overthrown.  They are living much too close to danger and when it erupts the main question is who will survive?

I love reading books about WWII and I love books about sisters so this book was a fantastic read for me.  The main characters were well written - even though Ellie's naivety irked me at times - and Paris, as always, was beautiful.  It's a different look at the war from a more personal perspective.  This is my first book by this author and it's time to add her to my list of favorite historical fiction authors.

Buy The Socialite at Amazon

the socialite
Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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  1. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours