Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson Book Review

// Chateau of Secrets //

By Melanie Dobson

{Review Written By Bethany}

 Source: Complementary review copy from the publisher
Genre: Christian Fiction
 Number of Pages: 400
Publisher: Howard Publishers
Publication Date: May 14th, 2014
My Rating: Four out of five stars

// Book Synopsis //
{Taken from GoodReads}

"A courageous young noblewoman risks her life to hide French resistance fighters; seventy years later, her granddaughter visits the family’s abandoned chateau and uncovers shocking secrets from the past. Gisèle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family’s medieval chateau in Normandy. Now, with Hitler’s army bearing down, her brother and several friends are hiding in the tunnels, resisting the German occupation of France.

But when German soldiers take over the family’s château, Gisèle is forced to host them as well—while harboring the resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend’s baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child.

A present day story weaves through the past one as Chloe Salvare, Gisèle’s granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army. Riley wants to research Chloe’s family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored—her family isn’t Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn’t know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover…

With emotion and intrigue, Melanie Dobson brings World War II France to life in this beautiful novel about war, family, sacrifice, and the secrets of the past."

// Bethany's Book Review //

This was the first book that I'd read by Melanie Dobson, but I'm sure it probably won't be the last as I really enjoyed this story! I'm a big fan of WWII historical fiction, so when I read the book description, I was very eager to read it. While I did realized this book was about WWII, what I didn't realize until I started reading it, is that it's actually a very unique novel in the fact that it's half historical fiction and half contemporary fiction.

The historical story in Chateau of Secrets is about Gisele Duchant, who was based on a real lady who lived in in France during the time of the second World War. I just loved how this character was based on a true story! The novel explores her experiences with the war, and how she dealt with challenges, such as hiding resistance workers in underground tunnels throughout the chateau, and how she dealt with the chateau be used for the German headquarters against her will.

The contemporary portion of this novel comes in every other chapter, when we meet Chloe Sauver, who is Gisele's granddaughter. She is living in the preset day, and is engaged to a young man who is running for a political position. But when she realizes that he has been cheating on her, she quickly breaks off the engagement and goes to Normandy to visit the chateau where her grandmother lived; as well as to uncover the secrets of her grandmother's life during the war. As she deals with the current situations in her life she learns about her grandmother's past, and starts to heal.

This was the first time I'd read a book that weaved both a historical story and a contemporary story into one. I liked all the mystery involved, and it had a good plot that included a lot of the chateau and the war, as well as Chloe's relationship difficulties. It was such an interesting read which I had no problem turning pages-in fact I stayed up rather late several nights reading and finishing this book. 

Another thing I liked was the characters, and how well they were portrayed despite the fact that there were two of them. I felt like I got to know each of the two main characters equally well, and felt connected to their story. Plus the way the story was written with going back and forth from the past and then the present day every other chapter, made for an interesting reading experience. It makes the reader able to learn things that happened in the past right before Chloe learns about them, making the reader feel like you have the upper hand throughout the whole mystery aspect of the book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It was an interestingly unique read for me, and one that I really enjoyed. I loved the moral of the story, and seeing two different women go through life which varied by woman due to the time period and surrounding circumstances. I highly recommend this book!

D I S C L A I M E R :: I received a complementary review copy of Chateau of Secrets from the publisher, for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed in my review are my own, honest and completely unbiased.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I have had this on my radar for quite awhile now as I'm so happy to know that it's good!


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