The Secret of the Grand Hôtel du Lac
“Dripping with suspense on every page” — JJ Toner
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2020
Gauci’s bailiwick is historical fiction often centered on heroes and heroines of World War I and World War II, as well as the interwar years, a Tussaud’s gallery of characters, so lifelike, so believable, so fleshed out that even nose to nose with them, you swear they are real. You end up asking yourself what devices this author uses to sculpt such three-dimensional characters out of a two-dimensional medium. The talent hails from a pool of some private source—a codified chamber of raw stuff ripe for shaping not responsive to just anyone. Only a few know the password, and Gauci is an honored, an awarded member of that select group.
Don’t let me make it sound a simple task, this chiseling, carving, molding, this blood, sweat, and tears of novel making. Pay close attention and you will get a notion of the enormous effort involved in it, the hours of research, the day upon day of pecking on a keyboard, the meals foregone, the companionship postponed until those final two words are spelled out: the THE END! The thing is though, that closing the last page of one of Gauci’s books leaves you wanting another one and another one.
THE SECRET OF THE GRAND HÔTEL DU LAC tells the story of Elizabeth Maxwell, code name Marie-Élise Lacroix, wartime spy for Britain operating in the months of the buildup of the World War II Allied invasion of Normandy. On a perilous mission to find and rescue missing comrades, one of whom is her husband, she is dropped by parachute in the thick of Nazi-Occupied France, a place overrun with Wehrmacht machines of war, patrolling German soldiers, the Gestapo, and the Milice Française, the Vichy regime’s armed and dangerous militia that held allegiance to Nazi Germany and fought against the French Resistance. The setting and backstory of the novel are thrilling and the suspense intense. I rate it a 5-star read and predict it will whet your appetite for Gauci’s entire body of work.
Gauci is a superb “passeur” (guide) through the mysteries of the Grand Hôtel du Lac and in resurrecting its “ghosts.” She tells us in the Postscript of her novel, “Like all stories, they fade over time. For me it was a powerful story and one that I could not let go. One thing is for sure, it was like walking through the countryside accompanied by ghosts, and I hope that in my own small way, I have brought the bravery of those ghosts alive again.” There are hints that she is brewing a new saga in her Melbourne, Australia studio of literary enchantments. Oh, goody, goody!© -From Linda Lee Greene, Author & Artist
When a writer takes the time to research the background, history and setting before weaving them through a plot, it shows. The author actually lived in the area in which this WWII story is set and the local knowledge and attention to detail shines through.
The fearless courage of the resistance fighters is described in detail, inspired by real life British and French agents who operated in the region during the war. Monuments to their bravery now dot the peaceful countryside and this well-crafted novel is a further tribute to their unwavering commitment and loyalty.
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 …more
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
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020
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.
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.
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.
It soon becomes clear that the network has been …more