This story, while fictional, uses the WWII backdrop to tell a beautiful, memorable tale that left me with no choice but to spread the word. I could not put the book down. I cannot recommend this book enough.
I was impressed with Dobson's research, as well as her ability to draw me in and love all of her characters. I came to feel sympathy for Nazis who, by no choice of their own, joined Hitlar's army. I learned things about Nazis that I have never heard before. So moving and so thought-provoking.
I had not read any of Melonie's books before but the story seemed interesting so I gave it a try. She is a very good author. I finished the book on Memorial Weekend which was so appropriate given the theme of the story. I unsually read for a while each day but this book propelled me to the end. It is the kind of story that leaves you wondering about the characters. I will not get into the plot, don't want to spoil it. I will be looking for more for this author.
Chateau of Secrets tells a tale of WWII. We see the resiliency of the French people under the harsh rule of the Nazis, some of the efforts of the French Underground, and an amazing tale of Jewish soldiers in the German army. Gisele has been left to take care of the family chateau. The Nazis decide to commandeer it for their headquarters in the town of Saint-Lo. She must cater to their whims while trying to protect some Jewish children and members of the French Underground.
Chloe is Gisele's granddaughter. She has come to France to guide a documentary filmmaker through the her family's ancestral chateau. Little does Chloe know that there are family stories about which neither she nor her father knew. As Chloe becomes more familiar with the stories of her grandmother's heroism, she begins to examine her values and the plans that she has had for her life.
This is a very interesting tale, going back and forth between Gisele's WWII story and Chloe's modern dilemmas. The story is loosely based on a factual one and the author has brought out some little known information about Jews serving in the German army. This is well worth your time reading if you have any interest in history, especially WWII.
I received this from NetGalley for my honest opinion
First things first. I adore reading, but I am not a big fan of fiction. With that understood, Chateau of Secrets is a lovely read. Melanie Dobson consistently keeps you engaged through masterful transitions between two time periods, 1940 and 2014. With flawlessly written characters, French food, history, romance and suspense, it is a great escape novel.
Practically speaking, I love the shorter chapters as they made it easier to follow between the two time periods and pick up where you left off. I couldn't help but bring the book with me everywhere and read a chapter here and a chapter there. As much as you hate to put it down, you will love to pick it up.
With Chateau being based on a true story, one's expectations are set high. Melanie does not disappoint.
(I received a gratis copy of this novel from Howard for an honest review.)
I really don't want to admit this, but I put off reading Chateau of Secrets. I looked at the cover and the plot and I thought, Nope. Don't ask me why, I just didn't think I'd connect with this story. I was very wrong.
I ended up soaking in this book over a period of time that was quite sad, with my Grammy in the hospital. I really needed a reminder that no matter how broken, tough, and dark the day might be, our own Author delights in good endings. (Not easy, bloodless, tearless, painless, but GOOD.)
This novel reminded me of that.
Basic Plot: Chloe Sauver is nine weeks away from marrying the man she's given her whole heart to. Other than a few small blips on the radar, everything seems just right. Then the offer/request comes out of the blue: Chloe, come to France, to your ancestral home, and tell us about your grandmother Gisele's involvement in WWII. Come to the Chateau L'Epines, and help us film a documentary.
Through circumstances you'll just have to read about, Chloe ends up on that plane, with bags packed and life in a whirlwind.
Her co-adventurer is Riley Holtz, the documentary filmmaker. He's a guy who looks like the last thing Chloe needs. When she looked him up online, she saw photos that suggested an inflated ego and a devotion only to partying. The Riley she meets has a whole different aura.
Melanie, Riley's story tied so well into Chloe's, and you brought them both into a lovely resolution. It had me teary. His life story, and the way he revealed it, added so much more depth and transformation. Riley and Chloe are bound for a spot on my Favorite Characters 2014 List.
Grandmother Gisele's life also comes into sharp focus- a brother in the French Resistance, a baby that needs loving arms and a new last name, and circumstances that force you to decide what you can lose and still live. I mean literally keep alive, and also live with yourself.
As in all good past-meets-present novels, Chloe finds perspective and fresh courage when she encounters Gisele's life. Gisele was truly devoted to protecting her loved ones, and keeping true to God and country.
Gisele and for Chloe both worked on something bigger than themselves, learning to make choices that will give tomorrow a chance for hope and as much healing as possible for themselves and others.
I also loved the presence of the Church in this novel, both the old chapel and those who sought sanctuary there. Well done in crafting a story that handles faith in the best way possible. I'm proud of Howard Books for publishing novels that touch the ragged edges of life, and the ragged edges of Jesus robe, and reach for both reverently.
Reading this story was like seeing a puzzle put together. At first, it was all tumbled in front of me, offering glimpses of beauty and lots of unanswered questions. As more of the picture developed I found myself leaning into the story, eagerly watching it come together.