Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Book Review: The Socialite by J'nell Ciesielski

About the Book:

As the eldest daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has always played by the rules. Her little sister, Ellie, lives to break them. After running away to Paris, Ellie has disgraced the Whitfords by taking up with a Nazi officer and living in luxury as the world around her burns. Ellie has no intention of returning to a life dictated by the British upper class, but Kat is determined to change her reckless sister's mind -- and save her family's reputation -- even if it means stealing into Nazi-occupied France.

On her first night in Paris, Kat meets Scotsman Barrett Anderson -- the owner of a local bar and an undercover agent training Resistance fighters. In addition to his political identity, Barrett has a secret he's keeping from the two sisters: their father has hired him to return them safely to London. If Barrett proves successful, the payout will afford him a chance at a new life and an escape from his dark past -- an opportunity he cannot afford to lose.

When Barrett discovers that Kat's social wiles could be useful to the cause, they join forces to infiltrate the Nazis' inner circle. Neither Kat nor Barrett expects to fall for the other, but when Kat discovers Barrett's secret, she questions his motives and the wisdom of her feelings. Can she trust Barrett with her heart, or is he using her and her family's name to climb the very social ladder that has betrayed her?

My Thoughts:

The Socialite, the first novel I’ve read by J’nell Ciesielski, captivated my attention immediately. Although the story takes place in Nazi-occupied France during WWII and the sad happenings of that time are depicted, I appreciated that the storyline isn’t overwhelmingly dark. The plot focuses not on the atrocities of that time, but on the characters and their relationships. I quickly found myself invested in the lives of Kat, Ellie, and Barrett. Kat and Ellie’s sisterly bond persisted even through times of disagreement and danger.  Kat and Barrett suited each other. I enjoyed their blossoming romance and how they prodded each other’s personal growth.

The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski is written for the general market as a clean historical fiction novel with underlying inspirational themes. This beautiful novel oozes historical research and earns a five-star rating from me. I had a hard time putting it down and would love to reread this novel in the future.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

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