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Small Acts of Defiance: A Novel of WWII and Paris    by Michelle Wright order for
Small Acts of Defiance
by Michelle Wright
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2022 (2022)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's an unusual historical by an author new to me - Michelle Wright's Small Acts of Defiance: A Novel of WWII and Paris. It doesn't start in Paris though, but in Australia where Lucie and her mother Yvonne are devastated by the loss of Lucie's father and their home in a fire.

Lucie's dad served in WWI and never got over the horrors he experienced. He couldn't face war again and told Lucie that 'Doing nothing is still a choice. A choice to stand aside and let it happen.' His choice was to burn down their home and die in the fire.

Left destitute, Yvonne asked for help from her older brother Gérard in France. He paid for their journey and shared his Paris apartment with them. He's surly, controlling, and collaborates with the Germans after they occupy the city.

Though shocked by what's going on around her, Lucie tries to stay out of it, but eventually makes the choice to get involved with the resistance. A talented artist, she begins 'small acts of defiance', sketching what's happening and hiding her drawings around the city. She befriends Aline and her Jewish family.

Then she starts to do more and more, first helping to forge identity cards and illustrating resistance tracts - a very dangerous involvement. As Hitler said, 'In times of war, words are weapons.' Lucie feels survivor guilt when her friends are taken by the Nazis.

When the war finally ends, Lucie discovers faint hope, 'a fragile thread, the finest of lines that held the past and the future together.' I liked this novel for its unusual slant on the war in France, showing it from an outsider's perspective, yet pulling her right in.

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