Title: Violins of Autumn
Author: Amy McAuley
Release Date: Available
A common worry of authors is the believability of their characters. There is a fear that the conflicts, feelings, and reactions experienced by fictional people will come off as, well, fictional. This fear is based on the concept that an unrealistic character will not provoke any emotions in readers. And of course, the main purpose of books is to engender thoughts, ideas, and emotions. Every book I’ve ever read has created some type of emotion that is called up every time I remember or reread that book. Violins of Autumn caused a number of emotions, which is in part why it made such an impression on me.
Set in World War II, Violins of Autumn is about a seventeen-year-old girl, Adele, who enlists and trains as a spy in the fight against Germany. The book starts with her dramatic entrance into France, where she and her fellow spies are to be posted. The reader then follows Adele and her comrades through a daring adventure ripe with assassins and traitors, while still retaining a sparkle of France’s notorious glamor and elegance.
While Adele struggles to prove her worth in a trade dominated by men I felt a strong admiration and respect for her strength and courage. As she repeatedly outsmarts the Nazis and excels as a spy I was triumphant. And I felt a heartwarming connection to all of Adele’s new friends, mentors, and her competing love interests. All the characters in Violins of Autumn were complex, multifaceted, and not just believable, but completely lovable and relatable. If Amy McAuley’s goal was to evoke emotions that will stick with her readers beyond the pages of her book, she was wildly successful. Violins of Autumn is a story that I, for one, will not forget.
Review by Tess
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