Resistance: Book 1 Liberty by Eilidh McGinness #BookReview #BlogTour

 

Bravery, courage, fear, treachery and love in a time of war.

A chance meeting draws Sabine Faure into the shadowy world of the French Resistance. Whilst acting as courier she meets four youths of her own age who wish to also join the Resistance. She is drawn to one in particular, Hérisson, who becomes her lover. Family loyalties are stretched to the limits as Sabine's family try to navigate safely through the occupation.

Set in Dordogne in South-west France during World War II, the friends’ relationships and strengths are tested to the limits as life changes in horrific ways, The friends find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Vivid and powerful in its illumination of a time and place filled with atrocities but also humanity and extraordinary bravery, Eilidh McGinness’s novel will evoke readers to ask - what would I have done?

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Resistance: Liberty today. Many thanks to Eilidh McGinness and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for sending me a copy of the novel to review.

As this is the first book in the Resistance trilogy, I will refer to it by its subtitle; Liberty for this review.

The vintage looking cover of Liberty evokes the spirit of the time in which the book is set beautifully. This is echoed by the narrative and the sense of time and place is a highlight of this engaging novel which follows a young French woman, Sabine Faure who lives in a rural Dordogne village and an idealistic Communist, Hérisson who is introduced in the opening chapter as he and his three friends undertake a daring – and terrifying across the demarcation line into the Free Zone of France.
Anybody who speaks French will guess that Hérisson is not his real name, particularly as his friends are known as Loupe, Cerf and Pinot; the reason why they have chosen these noms de guerre is explained early on and helps reinforce the sense that this first part of the Resistance trilogy is predominantly a coming-of-age tale. Both Sabine and Hérisson join the Resistance with a rather romanticised view of doing their bit while revelling in the chance for adventure and excitement but as the book and war progresses, they discover just what they – and others – are really capable of.
Sabine is the main and strongest character in the story, with most of the chapters following her. It's soon evident that she has never truly embraced her role on her family's farm, dreaming instead of Paris fashions and refusing to don her wooden clogs in public, seeing them as indication the wearer is an unstylish peasant. However, when she is asked to become a courier for the Resistance, she quickly realises that her daily routine delivering the cheeses she makes around the local area, provides her with the perfect cover. The development of her character during the course of the book is fascinating, particularly regarding her feelings towards her farm and family whom she clearly loves but often finds herself at odds with. As the war comes much closer to home, she has to reassess what she is willing to do and what her family really means to her; something I'm looking forward to being explored further as the trilogy progresses.
Hérisson is more of an enigma but this is hardly surprising, given his need for secrecy as a member of the Maquis. Nevertheless, his evolution from the enthusiastic, naïve young lad he is at the start of the story, to the skilled, ruthless combatant he becomes is compelling. Eilidh McGinness really captures the irony of the situation that both Hérisson and Sabine find themselves in, which means that even as they discover their immense courage and resourcefulness, they lose something of who they once were. Liberty is undoubtedly a recognition of the bravery of those who supported the Resistance but it's also a thoughtful, even melancholic look at the way the lives of these people were irrevocably changed by what they saw and did. The secret relationship between the pair reinforces this further and although their shared passion brings some romance to proceedings, it remains to be seen whether they can survive not just the Nazis but also what their choices and actions have turned them into.
The supporting characters are just that, with Sabine's rather overbearing, dogmatic father and the well-named Loupe being perhaps the most interesting. However, I suspect we may learn more about Sabine's sister, Josette who takes a very different path in this book, and I found the powerful unit leader, Carlos to be an intriguing character so I hope to see more of him later too.
Though set in the fictional village of Saint-Antoine-de-Double, the rich descriptions of the area bring the place to life, with the forest that provides shelter and sustenance for the maquisards being especially memorable. Eilidh McGinness makes it bleakly clear that the hidden presence of the Resistance brings danger as well as hope to the community and the dark recesses of the forest underline this perfectly.
I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend Liberty, it's a captivating, intimate portrait of living under and opposing the Occupation in France. I look forward to reading the rest of the Resistance trilogy;  Equality and Fraternity in the near future. 

Resistance: Book 1 Liberty can be purchased from Amazon; Book 2: Equality is also available now and Book 3: Fraternity will be published on 8th May 2022.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South West France with her then husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.

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