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January 11, 2021

A New Romantic WWII Tale from Anita Abriel - LANA'S WAR

by Donna Huber


After reading Anita Abriel's The Light After the War (read my review) last year, I was really looking forward to what she had planned for her next historical fiction story. When I saw Lana's War at Netgalley, I was quick to request it. The writing is wonderful and I loved the characters, which I expected.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Lana's War
January 2021; Atria Books; 978-1982147679
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); historical fiction
I don't know if it is because I recently read a few books featuring female spies, like Code Name Helene, but I was expecting more nail-biting action. Instead, it is more of a typical WWII romantic story.

Lana's mother came to France after her husband was killed during the Russian revolution. While nobility in Russia, she fled with little more than the clothes on her back. Through hard work and a remarriage, the family is comfortably living in Paris. Lana attends university where she studies chemistry and dreams of having her own cosmetic company. She meets aspiring pianist Frederick and they marry even though the country is at war. Then France is occupied by the Germans. Their love makes life bearable.  When she is widowed, Lana learns her Russian roots are of great use to the Resistance on the Riveria.

Lana received no training before boarding a train for Nice. And interestingly enough, no one is given any code names. Once in Nice, we are told what they are doing is dangerous and that the villa is swept for bugs regularly. Yet, there is little in the way of security. Again, Lana has received no training so she wouldn't know how to spot or evade a tail - she doesn't even realize until after the fact that she might be tailed.

The Gestapo officers seem more like the ones depicted in the 1960's sitcom Hogan's Heroes. They are easily distracted by a pretty woman. But they don't really feel like a threat and never seem to suspect those around them could be spies.

Like I said there was little in the way of action. Sure raids are thwarted, but most of what could be dangerous action takes place off the page. What tension I felt was more expecting there to be danger or for them to be caught, because I've read other WWII spy novels. 

While I would have liked for there to have been a bit more conflict, I really enjoyed the characters. And the descriptions of Nice makes me want to visit the French Riveria. So if you are looking for a romantic WWII tale that does not delve too deeply into the horrors and dangers of the period, then Lana's War is an excellent choice.

Buy Lana's War at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.


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