Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Paperback: 327 pages
Publisher: Smitten Historical Romance (February 19, 2019)
As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy.
Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives, hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire.
As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?
What I Thought:
First, let’s get the business side of things out of the way. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author, J’nell Ciesielski, in return for my honest review. There was absolutely NO signing of any documents that said I must leave a positive review. Just a review, good or bad. With that said, what follows is my humble, honest opinion of her second novel, The Songbird and the Spy.
This book drew me in emotionally so fast and I literally did not want to put it down. I felt like I was there, actually observing the story unfold. Her writing made it impossible for me to be anything but empathetic to Claire and Michael.
I don’t want to leave any spoilers, but let me share some of my favorite things about this book.
Claire is determined with a goal of being reunited with her family at the forefront of her mind, yet she doesn’t pursue that goal at the expense of others. She genuinely cares for Giles, Pauline and the French town folk and uses her God-given musical talents to uplift their spirits as much as possible during the difficult times they are experiencing.
Michael puts his life on the line in service of his country, pretending to be something he detests, a Nazi, in order to make the greatest impact he possibly can. That takes so much grit! One of my favorite lines from the book is this:
“Oh, one more thing, Captain.” Walthers drained his glass and placed it on his gleaming desktop. “Stop off to the chaplain before you leave and beg forgiveness from the Almighty for every ‘Heil Hitler‘ you’re about to spit out.”
J’nell skillfully draws the reader into the danger the characters face, the fear, brokenness and anger felt by different characters throughout the story and into the love that grows between Claire and Michael. She cleverly wove the ugliness of the war with the beauty of the love story. As someone who enjoys music as much as reading, I also appreciated her nod to the emotional healing music can bring.
Each night she played, the scars from France healed a bit more. She could find joy in the strings once more.
I’m very much looking forward to reading this book again someday and I highly recommend it to other fans of Inspirational Historical Romance Fiction.
This book was released for purchase today! You can buy it here.
You can visit J’nell’s website here.
About the Author:
Believing she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days creating heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle.