This is a historic fiction based in German-occupied France during World War II.
Daughters of War by Dinah Jefferies is a story of 3 sisters, Helene, Elise, and Florence, secrets and bravery in the darkness of war-torn France
Deep in the river valley of the Dordogne, in an old stone cottage on the edge of a beautiful village, three sisters long for the end of the war.
Hélène, the eldest, is trying her hardest to steer her family to safety, even as the Nazi occupation becomes more threatening.
Elise, the rebel, is determined to help the Resistance, whatever the cost.
And Florence, the dreamer, just yearns for a world where France is free.
Then, one dark night, the Allies come knocking for help. And Helene knows that she cannot sit on the sidelines any longer. But bravery comes at a cost, and soon the sisters' lives become even more perilous as they fight for what is right. And secrets from their own mysterious past threaten to unravel everything they hold most dear…
Dinah is a great writer, who knows how to capture one's interest. I was hooked from the start. Apart from the intensive storyline revolving around war, the mystery about Helene finding the dress in their attic, kept me intrigued. I was so excited and wanted to read more about the story behind the dress and the memories that Helene wasn't able to recall than the actual story of the war.
The book is written using 3 main POVs: Helene, Elise, and Florence. All these characters are so different from one another. Helene's the oldest and is always worried about her sisters' safety. She wants to be brave and fight the war, but is always scared of the repercussions involved. Elise, on the other hand, is a rebel. She fights at the forefront, without calculating the risks. She is head-strong and a risk-taker. Florence is the youngest and the dreamy one. The only way she thinks she can help ease the stress of war and her mother is through food. She bakes and cooks from her Mother's recipe and is the soul of the house. Although the characters are very different from each other, there's one thing that they all share: Love for each other.
The portrayal of Nazi Germany is again top-notch. It was brutally true, and heart-wrenching. The book might have some triggers for some, so you might want to read it carefully. But the author has handled the storyline beautifully. There's an aptness in the depiction of the destruction brought on by war.
The story involves an intricate mix of life during the war, as well as, the stories of the 3 sisters. All of them face different challenges and situations. The story has family secrets, war, brutality, rape, destruction (emotional and otherwise), and everything else to leave you teary-eyed. A lot of the scenes were totally heart-breaking, but in a good way, I guess.
The only thing I felt is it was too big. Although I didn't get bored on a single page, I would have preferred the book to be a bit thinner. But other than that, it was heart-wrenching, beautifully written, and an amazing read. This is the first in the series, and I am really excited to read the upcoming books in the series.