The evocative latest from Thomson (Katherine Carlyle) follows two unsung female French World War II heroes and traces their lives from their teen years to their deaths. The book’s narrator, Suzanne Malherbe, almost 17, meets the charismatic and mature 14-year-old Lucie Schwob in their hometown of Nantes in 1909; they bond immediately and become lovers after a few years. Lucie, a free spirit, reinvents herself as Claude Courlis (later Cahun), and Suzanne follows suit, calling herself Marcel Moore, both reasoning that the male names better suit their independent identities. In Paris in the 1920s and ’30s the two (Suzanne a photographer and illustrator, Lucie a writer and model for Suzanne) hobnob with Surrealist artists and writers and later move to the British island of Jersey off the Normandy coast, where they create a clandestine anti-Nazi propaganda campaign during the German occupation. The push and pull between the rock-steady Suzanne and the more volatile and sensitive Lucie is a constant undercurrent, but the strength of their relationship is never more powerful than during their face-off with the Nazis and their subsequent survival. In this seamless and comprehensive tale, Thomson shines a light on two impressive and memorable life stories. (June)
Correction: this review originally misspelled the author's name.
Reviewed on: 05/07/2018 Release date: 06/05/2018 Genre: Fiction