Posted in Historical Fiction, Romance, World War II

The Riviera House by Natasha Lester

The Past: When the Nazis invade Paris, they steal works of art owned by French museums and the Jewish people. Having been forewarned, the museum staff whisks away some of the most valuable works of art, including the Mona Lisa. But the plunder is astoundingly heartbreaking, in both quantity and value.

Two women work in secret and in constant danger to catalog the stolen art, so it can be returned to its rightful owners after the Nazis are defeated. One of them is a young woman named Éliane. Before the war, she worked at the Louve, as well as her family’s small cafe. She risks her life to save the artwork and what is left of her family.

The Present: Remy is struggling with depression after the loss of her husband and young daughter in a car accident. She retreats to a house on the Riviera, which she inherited as a baby. There she meets a photographer, Adam, who helps her take photos for her vintage clothing business. As she starts to unravel the mystery of a stunning painting that was also part of her inheritance, she falls in love again.

I enjoyed the parts of the book that takes place in Paris in the 1940’s. The sections that take place in the present, not so much. The present timeline section read like a boilerplate romance with very little substance. In my opinion, if this book had only taken place in the 1940’s, it would have been a much better book. I also took issue with the cover, which depicts a glamorous woman casually looking through a window. This is not a book about high society and fashion. At its heart, this is a book about war, starvation, danger and the bravery of those who fought behind the scenes in the French Resistance.

The Riviera House, Book, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Natasha Lester

My Rating 3.5 Stars, Grade C+

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