Cover Image: The Resistance Girl

The Resistance Girl

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A gripping tale of courage, secrets and resilience, Jina Bacarr’s The Resistance Girl is an atmospheric page-turner perfect for fans of Ella Carey and Catherine Hokin.

It’s 1943 and Parisians are in love with screen siren Sylvie Martone. The French public absolutely adores her and wherever she goes, Sylvie can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of adoration and adulation from her fans who are positively enraptured by her. But like every single country in the world, France is in the grip of the Second World War with SS officers stalking every corner of the city’s streets to ensure total capitulation by the Parisians. Like her friends and neighbours, Sylvie is absolutely terrified of what the future holds, but when she is spotted around Paris going round with an SS Officer on her arm, shockwaves reverberate all throughout the city. Has Sylvie lost her mind? Or is there a far more sinister reason why Sylvie has done this? With her fans turning against her, the adoration has now given way to scorn and disgust. But what secrets is Sylvie hiding? Who is she protecting? And what lengths will she go to to ensure that she keeps the ones she loves safe and unharmed?

In the present day, Juliana Chastain’s family history has always been shrouded in mystery. Her late mother has never once told her anything about her people and where she came from and has always been very secretive about the past. When Juliana comes across a photo of a very glamourous French actress she is stunned to discover that this was her grandmother – and she is equally shocked when she sees that she is arm in arm with a Nazi officer. Vowing to uncover the truth about her family’s secrets, Juliana decides to investigate further. But is she prepared for what she is about to find out?

As shocking revelations come to light, Juliana realises that appearance can be very deceptive and as the foundations of her entire existence are shaken, will she find the answers she has been seeking? Or will she end up regretting going down a path fraught with danger and scandal?

Jina Bacarr’s The Resistance Girl is a heart-breaking and emotional tale about love, loyalty and the ties that bind that seamlessly blends the past with the present in a beautifully drawn and vividly compelling novel that cannot fail to move and beguile readers.

A brilliantly told tale of sacrifice, redemption and strength, Jina Bacarr’s The Resistance Girl is an unforgettable tale from a master storyteller.

Was this review helpful?

A story that will touch you much more than you expect. Poignant, emotional, memorable..... a book about two women that will take you on two journeys, two intertwined stories and one incredible literary experience...
The war with its troubles and the wishes with its flight masterfully written across the pages....

Was this review helpful?

Loved this book. Lots of interesting information to digest. This is a great read for anyone who loves to read about history. Very well written

Was this review helpful?

An emotional romantic drama set in WW2 France and the present day. There are many novels of this ilk and while the story was well written, it was not very absorbing.

Was this review helpful?

This was a brilliant read and is being featured on my blog for my quick star reviews feature, which I have created on my blog so I can catch up with all the books I have read and therefore review.

Was this review helpful?

This is an author I have never read before, so I was certainly intrigued to read this one, especially when I realised it had a historical element in which I love.
The story features a dual time line which I love! First we are taken to Paris, France during WW2, And then we find ourselves in the present day.
This book is detailed beautifully and really brings both the setting and the characters to life. #
Full of emotion, mystery, love and family, this story certainly has a strong pull.
AN enjoyable, detailed read that was fascinating throughout.

Was this review helpful?

What happens when you place a young dreamer in pre-war Paris under the corrupted control of a fame hungry director? What happens when that dreamer becomes an inspiration to the whole of France and gets cruxified without them knowing the truth?

This book was everything I hoped it would be and more. I was committed from the first few chapters. As the story developed and you hoped you would finally find out the truth, the secrets to her fame just got buried under more demons. And I loved it. I devoured it quickly and fell in love with the characters she had created. It was a timeless piece, taking you back to Europe’s dark past. It was entertaining, well written and full of personality and spirit.

The story itself I want you to discover, but let me tell you, its worth the dive into the past. It shakes up history with a side dish of glamour and inner demons. It also provides you with a masterpiece of historical fiction, a romance story I fell head over heels for. I wanted, no I needed to read this novel. I think you do to.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this book. There are so many releases similar to this genre (WWII, women's historical fiction) that it's hard to wade thru them all to find the great ones, but this is one of the best.

Was this review helpful?

Before I started reading this I was heard a lot of very negative and to be perfectly honest incredibly hurtful opinion’s about it, most was mainly about the cover – I do know that Boldwood Books have changed the cover and the title – and some of it was about the story itself, but I never allow another person’s opinion to stop me from reading a book I have wanted to read (except if I genuinely respect their opinion/know them) I refuse to allow bitter words to sway my own thoughts and now I have finished, I am a little perplexed as to what all the harsh words were about.

Have people just looked at the previous cover and title and judged without reading??

Ah, well each to their own, but I was genuinely a little confused over the nastiness as this is a beautifully written timeslip, historical fiction and I would recommend it to anyone who loves WW2 fiction which is interlaced with the present. The writing is

The story moves seamlessly between the past and the present as Juliana and Sylvie’s stories are revealed as which are intricately linked. My personal favourite was the past, I have a huge love of WW2 era fiction, Jina Bacar really captured the time with her rich and vivid detail, its got a real authentic feel to it that ignites the imagination, alongside the imminent danger and what is happening you have old school glamour. I really enjoyed getting to know Sylvie and leaning her story, she had a fascinating life which was full of difficult choices that also tested her morally. From her humble beginnings with big dreams of becoming one of the most loved actresses in Paris and then to be hated and seen as a traitor and even worse condemned as a collaborator. But was Sylvie really a cold-hearted collaborator, or was there a reason why she chose the path she took?

The story is split between the present day, 1926 and then 1943, when Juliana finds a photograph of her incredibly glamourous grandmother, the shining actress of the ’40s but on the arm of none other than a Nazi officer. Juliana is shocked, what is going on in the photo? But she refuses to believe that her grandmother was a collaborator, so Juliana with photo in handsets out on a journey that will change so much and reveal family secrets, sacrifice, bravery and leaves her changed in mind and soul, she knows that Sylvie’s story is one that needs to be spoken and not hidden.

The Resistance Girl is an emotional read that will still your heart, if you love The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff (which is one of my ultimate WW2 historical fiction novel’s) then I can guarantee you will take this into your heart as well.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book, it has some good research in it, I wasnt keen on the main characters, but that's subjective and it doesn't take away from the sadness of the story.
An interesting basis in the dual time zone too.
A worthy 4 stars .

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book from the first word until the very last one. The characters were believable and the setting clearly described. I was never sure where this story would end, but it didn’t disappoint. I’ll be looking out for other Jina Bacarr books in the future.

Was this review helpful?

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, especially that which is set during WW2. However, for me, this book just didn't work. I think part of my issue is the writing felt very American, not just in Juliana's chapters but also in Sylvie's. Indeed, there was little difference in the writing style used in each characters chapters, which did make it hard at times to distinguish between the two - they didn't have their own distinct voices, but instead blended in to each other which I was a bit disappointed by.

Juliana's chapters weren't really that interesting to me - I've read so many books where a modern day relative researches their ancestors role in the war, and there was nothing special about her chapters to make it stand out in any way. Sylvie's timeline did have the bonus of focusing on a unique and often unexplored element of life in occupied France - the film industry - but I did feel like the tone was wrong here. Rather than focusing on Sylvie's struggles, a lot of the emphasis was on what she gained during that time, which felt wrong to me morally. But then Sylvie did come across to me at least like quite a spoilt, unlikeable woman, so maybe I'm biased.

All in all, this one wasn't really for me. And no, it wasn't because of the previous title (The German Officer's Girl) or because the original cover has swastikas on (even though both of these things were issues the publisher should've picked up on). My issue is the fact that the book itself just doesn't stand out. The plot is unique, but the writing isn't anything special, there's very little emotion in any element of the plot, and it felt very much like Sylvie was just giving you an overview of what happened, rather than actually living it. Plus, there were way too many miraculous discoveries of information in Juliana's timeline. It's a shame, as the concept itself (a story about a French actress and what she has to do to survive in occupied France) was interesting. However, the storyline was poorly structured, the emotion veered between being lacklustre and non-existent, and the writing just felt incredibly basic. WW2 fiction is a love of mine, but even I will admit that there are far too many books in this genre - as such, there's no point wasting time on one that isn't exception. And this one isn't.

Disclaimer - I was fortunate enough to be provided with an advance reading copy of this book by NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I love books set in Paris and I am fascinated with the impact of both world wars on civilians so this book was a must read for me.

I found The Resistance Girl a captivating WWII time-slip novel that will entrance you with the glamour, the espionage, the romance and the danger. It will also leave you with food for thought of a time in history that no-one can ever appreciate or begin to understand unless you are living in it. This is when fiction is at it’s best bringing historical moments to life and giving the reader an atmospheric understanding of what the characters are experiencing.

This story is a tale of two halves focussing on two women who find themselves reaching a junction in their lives. The routes they take could change their lives irrevocably. Back in the late 1920’s young Sylvie, who has been brought up by nuns at the local convent in Paris, is obsessed with the silver screen and dreams of being an actress. Sylvie has to make a big decision to step away from the convent and set her dreams free but is this step leading her to danger in later life? The silver screens were just coming alive with speaking parts and exciting times were ahead in the world of cinema.

Over 75 years later Juliana is sorting out her late mother’s belongings and finds a photograph of a beautiful women. This photograph she believes is of her grandmother and it inspires Juliana to learn more about her. Who is the beautiful woman, what was her story?

The story flits back and forth as we follow both girls journeys in life; Sylvie’s journey to stardom and to survival as the war in Europe intensifies and Paris becomes occupied by soldiers. Sylvie’s celebrity status becomes a hindrance and a gain during these troubled times and she struggles with her beliefs. Juliana has a tough journey tracking down the life of this young woman in the photograph who held so many secrets. Her gut instincts are to fight for the truth surrounding Sylvie’s career and personal life.

A story that will keep you mesmerised till the very end. I find stories like Sylvie’s very remarkable and they should be told to all. Even though this is a work of fiction it is based on the wondrous stories that military historians are now unearthing. At times it is dark with the realities of war and it will break your heart many times but you can sense the hope in Sylvie for better days to come. It must have been thrilling for Juliana to reveal these secrets of her grandmother. Secrets that no-one could ever envisage.

A captivating story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Was this review helpful?

If you enjoy historical fiction centred around World War II, then this is the novel for you. Told in a dual timeline, the Resistance Girl is a tale of family history, scandal and uncertainty, love and war.

Sylvie Martone is plucked from obscurity as a sixteen-year-old girl and whisked to Paris to become a movie star. Raised in a convent and knowing little of her family history, she is distraught to discover her mother was not the person she has always believed her to be.

In the present day, Juliana’s mother, who recently passed away, has always been secretive about her past, with Juliana believing her grandparents died before she was born.

When she discovers a photo in her mother’s possessions, it sets her on a trail to discover more about the woman in the picture who appears on the arm of a Nazi soldier.

As the tale unfolds through the recollections of Sylvie and the revelations Juliana finds in her diaries and tapes, the reader is drawn into a tangled history where all is not as it first seems.

The way the author weaves the story lines together keeps the reader intrigued throughout with plenty of surprises along the way. A thoroughly enjoyable read!

Was this review helpful?

An absolutely amazing book that looks at a time in history from a totally different point of view
Juliana finds out that her grandmother was Sylvie Martone, a famous French actress who starred in films from the silent movie era through to WW2 but there are pictures of Sylvie appearing to show her collaborating with the Nazi’s during their French occupation. Juliana doesn’t want to believe that her grandmother could be working with the Nazi’s so she goes to France to try and uncover the truth
I loved Sylvie, she is a strong woman who has so many troubles in her life but she fights and comes through them. It was fascinating to hear of her life as a famous film star, she would never give up on her dream to be an actress and seeing her career develop and her relationship with her fans showed the character that she was
Juliana doesn’t have as strong a role as Sylvie, it is after all her story, but following Juliana uncovering Sylvie’s life I could feel the emotions that Juliana went through as she learned more
This book showed me a part of the war that I didn’t really think of, how the invasion of France and the occupation of Paris affected those who lived there, learning what everyday life was like and the sacrifices that people had to make
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a historical novel from a different view point packed full of drama which will engage your emotions and turn them this way and that

Was this review helpful?

This is an emotional timeslip story set in Paris during WW2 and the present day. Juliana grieving the loss of her mother finds a clue to her past when she sorts through her mother's possessions. The secret they reveal is heartbreaking but does the camera lie?

Told from Sylvie's viewpoint in pre-war France and during war-torn occupied Paris and Juliana's in the present day a story of courage, danger and heartbreak unfolds. The historical setting is full of period detail that adds authenticity to the story. Sylvie is a courageous woman who uses her position and skills to help others in occupied France. Juliana uncovers an epic story worth immortalising in film. She also realises things about herself she's ignored in the past and ends the emotional journey knowing who she truly is.

This story has two believable female protagonists and an engaging mix of adventure, danger, history and romance.

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I must admit I have thoroughly enjoyed reading The Resistance Girl. It’s set over two timelines. Back in the 1940’s and then fast forwarded to the present day. The two main characters are Sylvie back in time and present day Juliana, who turns out to be Sylvie’s granddaughter.

Sylvie is a French film star until the war starts. From then on her life irreversibly changes as she faces danger, secrets, and difficult choices. She is extremely brave, realistic, and strong. When Juliana’s mum dies, she has to sort through her things and finds an old photo. This photo is of her grandmother Sylvie in the arms of a Nazi officer. Juliana is full of intrigue and determination to uncover the truth about her grandmother. Why was she involved with the Nazi’s? This set’s Juliana on a trail to discover the truth and she will not stop until she finds it.

The author brings the best out of her characters, she delves deep into their personalities, qualities, and stature, and shares this with us. It’s magical writing on a top-level.

I’ve already been lining up more of Jina Bacarr’s books,

Was this review helpful?

The Resistance Girl is a fresh new read in a genre that is bordering overdone. I was even tempted to pass this one on but the plotline of a French film start appealed to me – and I wasn’t left disappointed.

The reader is set up to dislike Sylvie from the first chapter. She was almost like a moral dilemma; to what extent would you go to protect yourself? And does that include consorting with the enemy. Even up until about halfway through the book I didn’t like Sylvie. I found her charming but egotistical. Then her character development really came into play and I found myself racing through, eager to find out what happened next.

I didn’t feel the same way about Julie. While I do love a book that flips between different viewpoints and storylines, I didn’t think she brought much value to the book. In my eyes, Julie was simply a catalyst for Sylvie’s story where, in parts, it felt like Sylvie could have just told her own story.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Resistance Girl. However, you might have seen a number of negative reviews about this book on Goodreads. Before the book was finalised, it was called The German Officer’s Girl and the cover showed a number of Nazi flags. I believe some of the negative reviews were by people who hadn’t read the book but were triggered by the cover. It’s really going to depend on your own feelings toward books depicting this era whether you like the story or not.

Was this review helpful?

I have been a fan of Jina’s ever since I had the good fortune to pick up a copy of her previous book called ‘The Runaway Girl’. I read the synopsis for ‘The Resistance Girl’ and it sounded like just my kind of read. So without further ado, I grabbed a copy of the book, grabbed a cup of tea and settled down for a darn good read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Resistance Girl’ but more about that in a bit.
As well as being a ginger haired book geek, I am also a ginger haired history nerd, with a particular interest in the first and second World Wars, so you can appreciate why ‘The Resistance Girl’ screamed ‘read me’ at me. The story sounded so appealing that I just had to dive straight in as it were. I became so wrapped up in the story that I lost all track of time and just how quickly I was getting through the story. The pages turned increasingly quickly as I became ever more desperate to find out what was going to happen to the main characters. This was one of those books that affected me emotionally too as I felt myself going through every emotion that the different characters were going through. I managed to read ‘The Resistance Girl’ over the course of three days, which is pretty good for me.
‘The Resistance Girl’ is superbly written but then I thought that to be true of ‘The Runaway Girl’ too. ‘The Resistance Girl’ is written using two different timelines. One timeline follows Sylvie’s story during Wartime and the other timeline involves her granddaughter Julianna. I did wonder if that might prove to be confusing but I needn’t have worried because the chapters interlinked really well and the story flowed seamlessly. Jina has a way of instantly grabbing your attention and luring you into the story. Once Jina has grabbed your attention then she will not let you have it back until the moment you read the last word on the last page. I found that she writes so movingly, beautifully and uses such vivid and realistic descriptions that I felt as though I was part of the story myself. I also find Jina’s books educational in a sense because she gives a real sense of what it must have been like for those people just trying to survive.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Resistance Girl’ and I would definitely recommend this book to other readers. I will be reading more of Jina’s work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

Was this review helpful?

Whilst I liked the premise of the story, I found I did not connect with Sylvie. Although she appears to suffer struggles, these are presented as the outcome of her own choices. Therefore, I could not sympathise when she found herself in difficult situations because of her selfish behaviour.

This book is about a French actress who cosies up to the Nazi soldiers in a bid to protect her Jewish friends. She becomes a spy for the Resistance, but I did not think that the writer really emphasised this enough. Instead, I found there was a lot of focus on her acting and creating films for the German production company. Whilst this was still interesting, I could not grasp her movements for the Resistance and it felt like an after-thought to the plot.

Switching between the Second World War and present day, readers discover that Sylvie’s grand-daughter is learning more about Sylvie’s actions in the war. I wanted Juliana to find peace and happiness, especially as the writer so vividly describes the dread that she feels when learning the possibility that her grandmother was a Nazi sympathiser. The quest for truth and to clear Sylvie’s name is what drives Juliana back to France in an attempt to learn the reasons behind Sylvie’s actions.

As a result of the lack of Resistance-focus in the plot, I found it difficult to believe that Sylvie is a spy. Instead, I thought she was quite self-centred and using the system for her own gains. However, reflecting on this novel, I guess the writer is drawing attention to this behaviour to show the desperation of the people of France: to get close to the enemy to protect themselves and the ones they loved.

Despite my misgivings, I did enjoy the story. I wanted to read more about the risks that Sylvie takes, rather than the richness that she experiences. Based on this, I can understand the negative reviews that comment on this element of the book. Indeed, I do not think the cover was the best of choices to reflect the true nature of the story and could have included Sylvie’s film-star background or even the Convent.

Once again, I have found another book set in the Second World War that provides a different aspect to people’s experiences. Whilst I may not have liked Sylvie and thought she was rather spoilt, it was definitely a thought-provoking story that has stayed with me many days after completion. And this, in my opinion, is a quality that makes this a good read to consider.

With thanks to NetGalley and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?