Y’all, I picked up Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley despite hearing little to no buzz about its release. I love historical YA, and seeing the magic word spy got my reader senses all a-tingle. The WWII backdrop definitely came to life and I found myself very much enjoying most aspects of this story.
Our intrepid heroine, Betty (code name: Adele), isn’t satisfied sitting on the sidelines. She lies about her age so she can train to become a spy. Along the way she makes an unlikely best friend, falls in love with an American pilot and manages to pull off more than her share of bravery. This all makes for a very engrossing read, y’all!
The one weak spot of Violins of Autumn is definitely the romance. It isn’t the focus of the story, and while I’m glad…I was disappointed with Robbie, the American love interest. Bless his heart, he just didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t feeling the swoons. I did feel a little more with Pierre, the French bad-boy resistance fighter. Cue the groans – I can hear you guys already. “Nooooo! Not another love triangle!” Well, fear not. I definitely don’t think there was enough development to call it a triangle. Just enjoy the boys for what they are and focus on the real strengths of the story!
From parachuting into Nazi-occupied France until its liberation by Allied forces – we follow Adele and see the part she plays in the war. From undercover tours of enemy munitions factories to dodging check-in points on bicycle – there certainly aren’t a lot of dull moments! Then, when things start to go wrong, Adele has to ferret out the existence and identity of an unlikely double agent.
Seriously, I loved seeing Adele’s growth throughout Violins of Autumn. She has to deal with a lot of confusion and growing pains along with the constant pulse of danger. Seeing how the war was changing her while at the same time seeing her struggle not to let it? Definitely made the pages keep turning. I found so many passages very elegantly written:
“Regular life. It still goes on around me.
While a kind man was working up the nerve to ask me on a date, I was working up the nerve to kill him with my bare hands.”
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley is definitely a book you’ll want to pick up!