Hello readers! Welcome to my stop on the Harlequin Trade Publishing Fall 2022 Historical Fiction Blog Tour for Angels of the Resistance by Noelle Salazar! Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing and the author for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this tour.
Title: Angels of the Resistance
Author: Noelle Salazar
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: November 29th, 2022 (MIRA)
Synopsis: Netherlands, 1940. In the small town of Haarlem, fourteen-year-old Lien lives a simple life with her mother and sister in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. Elsewhere in Europe bombs are falling, but the pall on their house is more from the recent loss of their baby sister as a result of an accident Lien believes she could have prevented than from the oncoming war. Until the Nazis invade the Netherlands and their lives are overturned once more.
Recruited by their late father’s friend, Lien’s older sister Elif reluctantly joins the Dutch resistance movement. Spurred by the injustice of the Nazis’ treatment of Dutch citizens as well as a terrifying bombing of their small town, and forever seeking atonement for her baby sister’s death, Lien begs to join as well. The sisters’ youthful, innocent looks and ability to disappear into a crowd make them the perfect resistance soldiers. Together with a handful of like-minded youth, including the gallant Charlie with whom Lien forms an instant connection, the sisters are trained and begin to carry out missions, from distributing and collecting information to moving Jewish families from hiding places to luring and killing influential Nazis. The toll of the war and their work is evident in their collective psyches, and Lien starts to make mistakes that could cost her and her newfound friends their lives. Until one very personal mission shows her that the atonement she desperately seeks for her sister’s death cannot be found at the end of the barrel of a pistol, but must be found from within her heart.
Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Lien Vinke lives a quiet life in the town of Haarlem with her mother and sister, but is haunted by the recent loss of her baby sister Madi, and she blames herself for the accident that caused her death. When it becomes clear that the Netherlands can no longer stay neutral in the war, Lien and her older sister Elif are recruited to the Dutch resistance movement by an old friend of her late father’s. Driven by the horrific treatment the Nazis inflict upon the Dutch citizens, the sisters train and are sent on crucial missions from transporting information, to saving Jewish families and even killing Nazis. But these missions begin to take their toll on Lien and it will only take one mistake for everything to unravel, placing all their lives in danger.
Although I go through several WWII novels each year, this was my first time reading a book by this author. The writing style was really good and it kept me engrossed in the story throughout, even the story initially took a few chapters to start moving. I was so intrigued to learn that this book was actually based on a real life story of two sisters who worked in the Dutch resistance as teenagers. The author brought their tale to life wonderfully, depicting how these ordinary girls took part in the war effort and made significant contributions towards its success. Reading this book has definitely made me want to seek out more WWII novels about the Dutch resistance, which I hadn’t read about until now.
Lien was an excellent protagonist and her arc was so well portrayed. It was interesting to see her and Elif grow from schoolgirls into assassins as they learned to do what was necessary to survive and help other around them even though they were far too young to be called to such responsibility. I would have actually like to see some POVs for Elif. So much of this story revolves around Lien’s feelings of guilt over Madi’s death and how it affects her and drives her to join the resistance and it would have been nice to see Elif’s perspective on this and how she dealt with it all, especially as she was shown to be initially reluctant to get involved but is later fully committed to it.
The reason I’m rating this 3.5 stars instead of 4 is because I feel like this book had much more potential. While the narrative kept me turning the pages, there weren’t really any big scenes or missions that set it apart from other novels in this genre. The pace of the story could have been a bit faster as well, perhaps allowing some room for more action scenes.
Overall, this was an engaging read and I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to checking out other books by this author at some point and I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of the genre!
Angels of the Resistance releases November 29th, 2022.
About the Author
Noelle Salazar was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, where she’s been a Navy recruit, a medical assistant, an NFL cheerleader, and always a storyteller. When she’s not writing, she can be found dodging raindrops and daydreaming of her next book. Her first novel, The Flight Girls, was an instant bestseller, a Forbes, Woman’s World & Hypable book of the month and a BookBub Top Recommended book from readers. Angels of Haarlem is her second novel. Noelle lives in Bothell, Washington, with her husband and two children.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!