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01 August, 2015

Book review: Evensong by M. L. St. Sure

I received this book through the goodreads first-read program. It promptly got misplaced when many of my books were packed into storage. 

Christina, is the daughter of a once famous Austrian opera singer and a minor French aristocrat. After the horrors her parents endured during World War I they emigrated to America. There they worked a small farm in Kansas and raised a family. Christina is taught to sing by her father, and has dreams of escaping from the farm to a life of success. 

After her father dies when the family is caught in a severe storm, Christina gets work at a hotel in town as a singer to the guests. There she meets two men. The elderly Senator Liam Caradine and the Frenchman Laurent de Gauvion Saint Cyr.  The Senator  sees Christina as a daughter while Christina loves him with her whole heart. While Laurent has fallen head over heels in love with her and is consistently rejected.

When Christina's mother and brother fall into grief fueled drinking and let the farm fall into ruin, Christina auxins to her need to protect her younger sister Nicholette. With the help of Senator Caradine, Christina flees the country with her sister and arrives in France just before Germany invaded. The girls uncle, Philippe Petain, has been named the French Premier. He is willing to ally his country with the Nazis. 

Christina and Nicholette find themselves thrown into war. Their uncle wants Christina to sing for Hitler. However She wants nothing to do with her uncles plans no matter the consequences. When her sister is taken by the Nazis Christina throws herself to helping Laurent in the French r√©sistance with the goal of rescuing her sister. 

Evensong is the first book by M. L. St. Sure. It dives into very powerful subject matter. The story delves into the horrors of war, and the struggles and sacrifices made during the hardship of war. While the idea of love is introduced to the story, this is by no means a romantic story. As Christina travels further into war-torn Europe looking for her sister we see her grow from a dream filled girl into a determined woman haunted by the death and terror surrounding her. 

I thought this was a strong first novel. There were times when characters and their motivations felt a little flat. However the story was intriguing and really pulled me in as a reader. It is not a happy romantic look at WWII. 
It does however portray in a realistic way what a soldier who is living through unrealized horrors might be feeling as they are entrenched in the war.

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