The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac

“Dripping with suspense on every page” — JJ Toner

Fictional Drama
1940s WWII
“February 1944. Preparations for the D-Day invasion are well advanced. When contact with Belvedere, one of the Resistance networks in the Jura region of Eastern France, is lost, Elizabeth Maxwell, is sent back to the region to find the head of the network, her husband Guy Maxwell. It soon becomes clear that the network has been betrayed. An RAF airdrop of supplies was ambushed by the Gestapo, and many members of the Resistance have been killed. Surrounded on all sides by the brutal Gestapo and the French Milice, and under constant danger of betrayal, Elizabeth must unmask the traitor in their midst, find her husband, and help him to rebuild Belvedere in time for SOE operations in support of D-Day.”
This is an outstanding book. The author has certainly done her research! While many authors stick to online research and reading around their subjects, Ms Gauci travelled all the way from her home in Australia to pay an extended visit to the Jura region of France.
The storyline is as strong as anything I’ve ever read. We have the Resistance, who had to operate under the ever-present threat of discovery by the Gestapo or their complicit compatriots, the Milice. We have women sleeping with the enemy in order to collect vital information, incurring the hatred and contempt of their friends and neighbours, and we have a spy that must be uncovered – a traitor within their resistance cell. The story has all these elements in spades. But the heart of the story beats with the unquenchable love of one brave woman on a quest to find and rescue her injured husband.
Five resounding stars!

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds

“I really enjoyed this story. I love the time period of the story-right before D-Day invasion at Normandy. I love the authors notes at the end of the book. I love reading about the true history and research behind a book. I love the character Elizabeth. She is a no-nonsense person, courageous, physical, intelligent, wise, tenacious, and formidable. I love the love between Elizabeth and Guy. Great story!
This novel was very well researched and very well written. The characters came to life for me and the plot was page turning. I enjoyed it a great deal and was sorry to see it end. I’ll be looking for more books from this author.”

Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2021

Review of “The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac”
It was 1943 in the Haute-Jura region of France where Elizabeth Maxwell is preparing for her re-insertion into occupied France as an SOE operative for a mission unlike any other she had undertaken previously. In this instance, she was being tasked to find her husband Guy Maxwell a fellow SOE agent who had disappeared after failing to report to London via radio.
Elizabeth’s mission was fraught with danger from numerous sources as it was unknown why contact with the maquisards had broken down or whether Guy had been captured or killed. While it appeared to be like looking for a needle in a haystack, Elizabeth was fully prepared to face the dangers of capture herself in an attempt to solve the mystery and to repair the network.The Author, Kathryn Gauci, whose books I have admired previously is once again at her stunning best with a narrative that simply does not let up in suspense and drama but again and again her meticulous attention to detail and knowledge of this location in France, and in particular, the period in question is without parallel.Even as she describes her preparations in England, I am reminded of my own life experiences so much so that when she casually remarked about Flanagan and Allen, I was immediately reciting the songs to myself of “Underneath the Arches” and “Run Rabbit Run, Run”Elizabeth had the task of re-establishing radio contact with London and to hide the radio. Here again, small details are so important in a narrative of this sort, and as an author, she made it clear the agent knew the importance of keeping transmissions brief and how long it would take for a German tracing device to discover her location.

All the time she was re-connecting with known & trusted maquisards there were other contacts that required careful screening before she could discover clues of where and what happened to the love of her life. During this period the Gestapo were increasing their pressure on the region and thousands were being rounded up either as suspects for interrogation or for conscription for the Service du Travail Obligatoire or (STO) in which thousands of Frenchmen were forced to work in the German industrialized complexes. It was a compulsory Work Service and those who did not sign up or report were either shot or deported.
This proved to be a strong recruiting tool for the Resistance where men were willing to join the maquis instead of being forced to go to Germany. (My own French brother-in-law was forced to work in Germany under the STO)

Her quest for finding Guy leads her to a strange Hotel close to a lake where she discovers it is a favorite resort of the German high command in the region. This situation requires all of her skills she has been taught in England and Elizabeth discovers the Hotel has other secrets that propel her forward in her dangerous mission.

If you have never read a Kathryn Gauci historical novel, I urge you to drop everything and pick this one up. You will be engrossed from page to page. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
David E. Huntley – January 18, 2021


Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2021

I’ve read so many books about the resistance in France, both non fiction and fiction. The author makes the setting and the characters come alive with a mix of characters highlighting qualities in real people – the good and the bad. Kathryn has a real gift, a command of words that allows her to present a book as gorgeous as the most exquisite embroidery pieces she highlights on her facebook page. Highly recommended five star read.

Reviewed by Jennifer Ibiam for Readers’ Favorite
The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac by Kathryn Gauci is a beautiful historical novel about the German occupation of France. Between 1943 and 1944, the Nazis occupied France, inflicting varying degrees of hardship on the French in the name of Hitler. England stepped in to save France by sending its best SOE agent, Guy Maxwell, to join forces with the local Resistance in driving the Germans out. One fateful night, while Guy and his team waited for airdropped supplies at a discreet location, something terrible happened which sabotaged their mission. Someone had sold them out, and no one knew Guy’s whereabouts. His wife, Agent Elizabeth, was sent to France on a mission; find Guy and fish out the traitor. The opponents will soon realize that behind a beautiful face lies a lethal mind.
The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac by Kathryn Gauci is an exceptional novel. It will appeal to lovers of espionage, war, and historical novels. I enjoyed reading this book, as it felt like I was in an action movie. Kathryn perfectly blurred the lines between fact and fiction, creating a thorough blend of literary enjoyment. The characters of the star females, Elizabeth, Amelie, Odette, and Madame Sophie, were so well developed that I fell in love with them. They were formidable characters whose contribution to the freedom of France will never be forgotten. The story is one of war and based on true events, but it also incorporates love, deceit, determination, hope, and bravery in the face of danger. I appreciate the stylistic writing and clean editing, which made for a beautiful reading experience. Thank you, Kathryn! Give us more.
Steeped in wartime drama and driven by storybook romance, The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac by Kathryn Gauci is a riveting work of historical fiction. Peeling back the lore of the French resistance during World War II, this novel is both a gripping spy thriller and a deeply personal adventure of a dauntless rebel in uncharted territory. With a mesmerizing ability to transport readers into barrooms and battlefields as readily as quaint French towns and dense forest landscapes, Gauci weaves a rich, well-constructed tapestry of language, suspense, and history in this enthralling, page-turning read.

Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2020

Enthralling. This is a page-turner.
I devoured The Secret of the Grand Hotel du Lac. The author brings to life a tragic period of French history–the years of German occupation. The story has all the elements of historical fiction at its best: vividly depicted atmosphere of mortal danger; heroes (subversive acts could land a citizen in jail, or worse, even not reporting was as dangerous as the resistance activity); villains and anti-heroes, willingly or unwillingly cooperating with the invaders (i

Marie-Elise was a strong and brave heroine as where all the women and men in the resistance in France during WWll. This story stays suspenseful to the very end. Well written Kathryn Gauci

Helen Johnson Brumbaugh

Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020

Another superb book by the very gifted writer Kathryn Gauci. The novel is a beautifully researched work of historical fiction based on true events of the brutal realities of WWII. Ms Gauci has truly honored the resistance fighters, the passeurs and the people Hitler deemed subhuman . From the first page you will find yourself walking in the footsteps of the brave men and women as they try to free the world from this evil regime and save the lives of so many unfortunate people who were robbed of their most basic rights. The characters, scenery and the story jumps off the page and takes you to worn torn France as you live their journey from start to finish. I anxiously await Kathryn Gauci’s next novel.

Trisha Faye

Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020

Kathryn Gauci’s masterful writing thrust me right into the room with Guy Maxwell on the first page. Immediately I was in a cold hut in France next to Guy as he struggled to come to terms with his present situation. And then, I met Elizabeth and was even more intrigued.
The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac is a fascinating read that keeps you turning the pages, deeply immersed in the story. I enjoyed this book immensely and am looking forward to reading more of Gauci’s tales.

Diane rated it 5*****
This story, set in the Jura/Franche-Comte region of France, is a rollercoaster of a story and possibly very much like the lives of those who lived in France and particularly in that area in 1943-44. I have read many stories of the work and sacrifice of those connected with the Resistance in other parts of France but this is the first story I have read particularly set in this area which is remarkably close to the border of Switzerland though that did not make the work of the Resistance any easier. This is an incredible story and the latest by Kathryn Gauci, her research into the events that occurred at the time is remarkable and I have an even greater appreciation of the suffering and sacrifice of so many to not only rescue so many Jewish people, but also to fight against the Nazis during their brutal occupation of France. Thank you Kathryn Gauci, I love your writing and totally appreciate the research attached to your stories. I love this book and highly recommend it to other readers. (less)

Dec 24, 2020 Katinka rated it really liked it

This was a WWII story set primarily in France (with Some scenes in England.) Much of it takes place during the latter part of the war and focuses mainly on the story of a few women who were part of the resistance movement. This book is a work of historical fiction, and while the characters are fictional, their tale is based on places that existed and events that happened during the war.

The women depicted in this book were brave and often took great risks to help free the people of France from German control and oppression. I was fascinated by their stories. Some sought to help by working as double agents, often appearing to be collaborators who were involved with high ranking German officials, but were in reality only doing so to gain useful information and offer aid to the French resistance.

Such actions were incredibly dangerous as discovery of the truth by the german officials would likely mean torture and death, yet as they were often acting in secret, their own countrymen often saw them as traitors to France, potentially also ending with their deaths.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories that have a basis in actual events as well as to anyone who enjoys tales of WWII resistance fighters. I greatly enjoyed reading this book. While there may be many stories of the resistance fighters in WWII, I have not read too many of them, and very few from perspectives such as were shown to us in this book.

After reading this historical novel I was left with the feeling that I been present in this beautiful part of Europe at a horrendous time in its history, even though I have never travelled to The Jura region in Northern France. The characters are particularly well drawn with fictional protagonists mixed with historical personages and the fact that Gauci can create such a smooth account just confirms her skill as an author. World War Two stories are often a tough read but The Secret of The Grand …more

I have just finished reading
The Secret of the Grand Hotel du Lac
By Kathryn Gauci.
I absolutely loved it. It was suspenseful,romantic, it had complex Characters.
It was so descriptive I could picture each place she wrote about.
She didn’t find it necessary to use Profanity or explicit sexual scenes.
I would read it again and I normally do not read books again.
A great Author.
I can’t wait to read her next book.
I highly recommend reading this awesome book.

This is a gripping story of love, hope, betrayal, and the power of human endurance during the Nazi occupation of France during world war two, focusing on the years 1944/45. The story centres around the French Resistance and a group known as Belvedere, who are based in the Jura region of Eastern France. A British agent familiar with the area, Elizabeth Maxwell, is sent to join them and find the head of the Belvedere network, her husband Guy Maxwell.
It soon becomes clear that the network has been

Kathleen Teal

Reviewed in Australia on 9 January 2021

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