Lana’s War by Anita Abriel
Lana’s War is an enthralling work of historical fiction, which draws on the crimes of, Alois Brunner, an Austrian Schutzstaffel officer who worked as Adolf Eichmann’s assistant, to kick start a tale of revenge, resistance, and suspense.
The story opens in 1943, and the Germans have occupied Paris for close to three years. Lana Antanova and her husband Frederic are expecting their first child. While conditions in their country had worsened during the occupation, she and her husband were happy.
Lana is on her way to share the good news with her husband, a piano teacher at St. Catherine’s school. She stops when she sees a German truck parked in front of the institution. Through the window she sees Alois Brunner (a man responsible for sending over 100,000 Jews to ghettos and concentration camps in Eastern Europe) talking with her husband. As Lana watches and listens to the conversation, she is shocked when Brunner unexpectedly shoots Frederic, after accusing him of hiding Jews at St. Catherine. Devastated she slips into despair and losses her baby. As the days and weeks linger on, her chemistry studies falter, and with it, dreams of opening a perfume enterprise.
Months later Sister Therese from the convent approaches Lana with a proposition. There is a man named Henri that she wants Lana to meet. The meeting propels Lana to the French Riviera, whereas a White Russian, and mistress to a Swiss industrialist, she joins the resistance to rescue Jews. However, when she becomes close to many of the people around her the situation takes a different turn as the Nazis work to uncover the agents in their midst. Complicating matters is the man who killed her husband, and is part of the German entourage along the Riviera.
The author does a great job of using a variety of female resistance fighters to create the character of Lana. All of whom put themselves in danger to assist in helping to win the war against Germany. What makes this particular story enjoyable was its fairy tale ending during a dark time in history.
This is Anita Abriel’s second book about World War II. Her first, The Light After the War, is based on her mother’s survival of the war.