In Code Name Camille. Kathryn Gauci shows her enormous talent in that her work can describe horrific events which you may never feel. witness or endure. She takes you into the fear experienced by Nathalie as she deliberately puts aside her comparatively safe country life and travels to Paris where she joins the resistance and by chance, she finds herself in the elegant world of couture. Knowledgeable about fine material and fashion Gauci weaves a story of traitors, of Paris under occupation, of suffering and how the citizens learn to live in their various ways. The book is written in perceptive prose as smooth as the silk with which some of her characters work. For this story alone it is worth buying The Darkest Hour.
Roberta Kagan”s Bubbe’s Nightingale is the first story and set mainly in the Warsaw Ghetto. Its realistic tone gives away that much of the plot could be based on true emotions. A book that will stay with you. Most readers will be aware that the Jews in this Polish city experienced some of the worst conditions during WW2, but few will know the details of the deprivation and Kagan’s account of a Jewish woman who survived and how she adapted later to life in America is haunting.
in The Enemy at the Gate by Mary D. Brooks, Mussolini is occupying Central Greece and the Germans are expected in the town of Farsala where the mountains are promising a refuge and where some have reason to protect the Jews being rounded up for deportation. Occupation was really difficult for the Greeks and Brooks paints a convincing picture of the suffering, death, torture but also love in these conditions. In this dense story the author takes you into the hot plains of Central Greece with few hiding places except the mountains and those around Tempe, and also Lamia, have always been tempting and often fatal battlegrounds for the Greeks. Zoe, a young girl of Spartan ancestry, is conscious of the history, particularly at Thermopylae.
I am looking forward to reading the seven other stories in this wonderful anthology.