The Milliner's Secret
by Natalie Meg Evans
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Page Count: 560
Release Date: July 30, 2015
Format: Kindle ARC
How got: ARC Kindle copy from NetGalley
First attention getter: that pretty cover!!!!!
London,1937. A talented young woman travels to Paris with a stranger. The promise of an exciting career as a milliner beckons, but she is about to fall in love with the enemy...
Londoner Cora Masson has reinvented herself as Coralie de Lirac, fabricating an aristocratic background to launch herself as a fashionable milliner. When the Nazis invade, the influence of a high-ranking lover, Dietrich, saves her business. But while Coralie retains her position as designer to a style-hungry elite, Paris is approaching its darkest hour.
Faced with the cruel reality of war and love, Coralie must make a difficult choice—protect herself or find the courage to fight for her friends, her freedom and everything she believes in.
Star Rating - 4
I was first drawn to this book by the cover. The gorgeous colors and figure dressed so prettily caught my attention while browsing future Amazon titles. When I saw it offered on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read and review. For the most part, expectations were met.
The character of Coralie took some getting used to. In the beginning, she read as a shallow diva out only to further her dreams and poo to everyone else. I found myself feeling no sympathy for her at all. Yet, once the crap hit the fan and everything happened to her in Paris, my opinion of her did a turn around. Her tenacity, pluck, and intelligence shined as she conquered the fashion world of Paris during the dark days of WWII, survived multiple brushes with danger, and built a life for herself.
I also enjoyed the overall storyline. The shifting alliances, shadowy Resistance activities, and the daily life in a war-torn city kept me engaged throughout. She balances the intimate of her character’s inner thoughts with the broader spectrum of events like the deportation of Jews and the assassination plot against Hitler to create a well-balanced whole. That’s a rare gift with a book this size and was well-appreciated by this reader.
The one thing I didn’t appreciate was how much melodrama was packed into the story in the second half, especially around Coralie’s and Dietrich’s relationship. It’s “off again, on again” pattern happened so many times that I lost count. There was enough drama with the spy/Resistance thriller elements that this constant soap opera quality was unneeded.
I also felt that the ending was rushed, due to the amount of page space dedicated to the melodrama. This book would have benefited from more resolution than one wimpy epilogue and final chapter and less see-sawing relationships.
An engrossing tale of resistance and love in Nazi France, this book looks to please all lovers of the genre. You’ll get behind the characters as life happens and grow to love the amazing story. While melodrama and a lackluster resolution do bog down the works a bit, I’d not let that stop you from checking out this book. I look forward to checking out the author’s other work, which I hear ties into this one.
Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.