The White Venus, The Love and War Series Book Two by Rupert Colley
Rating: Five Stars
When you trust your enemy more than your family
June 1940. A village in northern France awaits a garrison of conquering Germans.
To their dismay, 16-year-old Pierre and his parents are forced to accommodate a German major. He is the enemy within their midst and, more pertinently, the unwanted lodger within their home.
The problem, however, is that the German is annoyingly pleasant. The major, with a son of his own, empathises with Pierre in a way his father has never been able to.
But when his father is arrested by the Gestapo, Pierre has to ask where his loyalties lie, and who are his friends and who, exactly, is the enemy.
Desperate to prove himself a man, Pierre is continually thwarted by those he trusts – his parents, the villagers and especially Claire, the girl he so desires.
Pierre’s quest brings to the fore a traumatic event in the family’s past, a tragedy never forgotten but never mentioned. Can Pierre confront his trauma, and prove himself a man in a country at war?
It’s rare that I find a book that I want to read in one sitting, but I stayed up all night reading this brilliant book. Characters move stories, and I was instantly taken with young Pierre. His character arc is superb. He first comes across as this young boy who has difficulty killing a chicken, but as the novel progresses, Pierre finds his strength.
It’s hard not to feel for Pierre as so much of what he thought was true is called into question, yet the novel is filled with humor as a young man’s boyhood antics with his friend Xavier and his perpetual crush on the lovely Claire heighten all the joy and angst of adolescence.
You will laugh and cry as you read this superb read filled with all the wonders and pain of a coming of age tale. I cheered Pierre on all the way. This was my first read of one of Colley’s novels, and I will certainly read the rest of the series.