Historical Fiction Book Review: The Socialite
About the Book
Title: The Socialite
Author: J’nell Ciesielski
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: April 14, 2020
“Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.
As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?”
The Socialite, by J'nell Ciesielski, is an intensely gripping story of courage, survival, love, and conviction. With captivating characters, relevant themes, and a riveting plot, this historical fiction novel is as exciting as it is fascinating. Page after page, Ms. Ciesielski's unquestionable writing talent is on full display. Her thorough research and thoughtful insight meld beautifully together with elements of history, suspense, danger, faith, and romance to create a genuinely moving novel that is truly entertaining and intriguing.
Set mainly in occupied France during WWII, the story unfolds against contrasting backdrops of gluttony and privation, control and powerlessness, and falsehoods and truth. With curfews, blackout curtains, fear, and rationing as their daily reality, the characters make difficult choices and face dire threats as they struggle for hope and freedom for the oppressed. While they do what they can to thwart the evil in their midst, they persevere with gritty determination. The opportunities, the choices, and the trials that the characters endure are intricately developed, and from them their complex motivations and desires are ultimately revealed. With the incorporation of such themes as worthiness, liberty, redemption, and love, this novel abounds with significance and meaning.
With its compelling characters, war-time setting, enduring themes, and engaging plot, The Socialite is an achingly poignant, emotional-stirring, thought-provoking, and utterly memorable novel. I was wholly invested in this well-written story from the stunning beginning to the dramatic conclusion. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
*I was given a copy of this novel from the publisher and Celebrate Lit. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.
About the Author: J'nell Ciesielski
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.
More from J'nellI blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??
Bam. An idea was born.
In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out 😉
To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
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