When Nazi forces occupy Jersey in the English Channel Islands, Céline Huber, who is married to a German, must decide where her loyalty lies.
Love for her island, and fear for her Jewish friend Rachel, soon propel her into a dangerous double life.
Meanwhile, Céline’s husband Fred is conscripted into the Wehrmacht in occupied France.
Horrified by Nazi acts of atrocity and torture, he soon becomes a double agent for the French Resistance.
But when things go wrong, and his Nazi masters discover his true allegiance, he finds he has the whole of the German Army on his tail.
How far will Céline go for her best friend? Will Fred make his way home to her?
Or will their lives be changed forever by the brutality of war?
THE OCCUPATION is a moving war & military saga following the separate stories of a young man and woman through the years of the Second World War as they fight to survive.
This powerful story had me reading late into the night, by turns on the edge of my seat or reduced to tears. Although I have read of the German occupation previously only now do I fully appreciate the hardship, distress and uncertainty of those who lived through it. In the words of Céline and later her German husband Fred (Siegfried) we follow their lives from their pre-war bakery on Jersey as Fred responds to the order to join the Wehrmacht in France while Céline struggles to keep their business going. When the German army arrives to occupy the island, Céline’s Jewish friend Rachel becomes alarmed as she has already lost touch with her parents in France.
Meanwhile Fred is initially relieved to leave active combat for a job as a translator in Paris, but he soon makes friends with the locals and is horrified by the deeds of the Nazis. Unable to communicate with each other, both Fred and Céline must take actions and make decisions they would not have countenanced before the war. Fred puts himself in peril for the sake of others, while Céline is endangered by the arrival of Fred’s bullying brother as a German officer. This carefully researched story with its basis in true life would make an amazing film and is the best book I have read for a considerable time.
The Occupation on Amazon UK
My reviews of Past Encounters and Pleasing Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift
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