Review Blog

Dec 19 2017

Dancing with deception by Catherine McCullagh

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Big Sky Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925520866
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Themes: War - WWII. Truth and lies. A beautiful girl, growing up in a privileged life in Sydney with beautiful clothes, music and suitors, defies her socialite mother to pursue her own interests and to become a nurse. Along the way she also hides much of herself from scrutiny - she does not fit the family expectation to marry well to someone from the social elite. In fact she explores a sexual relationship that should never happen and the reader is very aware that she walks a very fine line; one mistake and she would be plunged into disaster. Her beauty and demeanour though enable her to glide through this deception, until she makes herself available as a nurse in London as the Second World War is about to begin. Eventually the brave and determined woman serves in a Red Cross hospital in Paris becoming a critical participant in the local Resistance. Strangely, her beauty places her into the arms and bed of a local Gestapo Agent and she must again walk the line of deception, always afraid of revealing too much information in the arms of a man who could have many innocent lives destroyed. Will she be the one that destroys the Resistance group's effectiveness? Is her own life in danger?
This is a love story and a war story, woven with lies and deception which together have created an impressive historical saga. The author's own military and historical knowledge are evident (even though there are fictitious elements to the story - eg no Red Cross hospital actually existed in Paris during WWII). Revelation of the bravery of many ordinary folk involved in the subterfuge of the Resistance movement is amazingly told. But essentially this is a story of a very brave and beautiful woman, whose intelligence and personality shine through the events and tragedies. This is a saga that adults would enjoy, and it is deftly written, a little 'racy' in parts; some violence described, but with reservation; and characters that have interesting quirks as well as those that display all the worst aspects of war-time horrors and the pursuit of power.
Recommended for adult readers.
Carolyn Hull

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