War is brutal. War is unfair. War is soul-wrenching. David-Michael Harding's How Angels Die is a thought-provoking portrayal of the French Resistance during WWII. What makes this piece of historical fiction different is that it is from the women's perspective. By reading this novel you will find that women freedom fighters played a huge role in the Resistance and sacrificed so much for France.
The story revolves around two sisters, Monique and Claire. Both are fighting the same war but in different ways. The pain and judgment both sisters put upon one another tears them apart. Mr. Harding lays out beautifully the dynamic between the sisters. The love is so apparent but it is caught up in this brutal and bloody war.
Family plays a huge role. War wrecks havoc on a once close and loving family. Everything is literally torn apart. You feel every brutal word that each person lashes out. Sides are chosen there is very little forgiveness. Only something extreme can bring this family together again. And something extreme does happen. I have to say that a few tears were shed while reading. Your heart breaks for this family.
Love runs throughout this book, whether it's from family or a lover. In the Resistance, you are expected to fight and possibly die for the cause, getting rid of the Nazis. However, most most sacrifices are for the people who you love. For the sisters, it's family. For others, it's a lover. My favorite line from this novel is that "Years as a sister gave way to the wants of a lover only to return to ties of blood." It says so much.
All of this makes for a beautiful but heart-breaking story. It is well-written and the characters are nicely developed. I really enjoyed this read.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I received this book as a gift from the author but it in no way influenced my opinion of this book.