Local author, Bill Lockwood of Bellows Falls, Vermont, has recently completed his fifth historical fiction novel, Gare De Lyon, set in Paris, Marseille and Lyon in occupied France during World War II.
The prime characters include Mary O’Riley, an Irish native of South Boston, a student who went to Paris to study art. She finds herself involved in challenging responsibilities as a member of the Resistance. Working in a bakery, she has to flee Paris to avoid the Gestapo and ends up helping a downed RAF pilot to escape to London via freighter and submarine.
Readers familiar with novels about Resistance and Underground efforts by the people of France, Norway, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia as well as more recent efforts to smuggle Russian doctors and scientists out of Russia via Finland, will find Gare De Lyon a great read. The reader will know “the way of the Resistance” – “the less anyone knows, the safer it is for them”.
The prime characters Mary O’Riley and Freddy Winston and their associated Resistance members come alive in this book. All are carefully delineated and the reader can identify and relate to the tension as the Resistance members pass messages and avoid the ever-present threat of the Gestapo capturing them.
There is plenty of excitement as the Resistance members work to get the downed pilot, Freddy Winston, back to London and back in the air to help defeat the Germans.
While not a love story in the truest sense of the great novels of WWI and WWII, there is the feeling at the end that the two primary characters will meet again when the war is over.
After reading this book, the reader will want to read some of the great World War I and World War II novels as well as books about the Resistance Efforts, especially in Norway and later, after the war, in the Baltic countries of Eastern Europe.
These books include A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, The Girl at the Lion d’Or, Birdsong, & Charlotte Gray a trilogy by Sebastian Faulks and Forest Brothers, Anti-Soviet Freedom Fighters 1944-1956 by Jouzas Luksa, of Lithuania.
Gare De Lyon will be an excellent read for anyone with an interest in the history of World War II and the efforts to combat tyranny down to present days.