Thursday, October 25, 2018

29. Heir Apparent by E.L. Withers

I found this book at the weird Mile End blanket sale.  I can't find any reference to the author online.  It's a decent WWII thriller, made particularly interesting because the protagonist is an old lady.  She is the marquessa of the island of Marabello off the coast of Naples, being used as a base for injured soldiers by the Nazis.

At the beginning of the book, she is basically whiling away the days, most of the time in bed, with one remaining servant and her children back in Rome.  She is stoic but also basically neutral.  The Nazi colonel, with class aspirations, treats her with simpering deference.  Things change when her old friend on the island requests her help to hide a 7-year old girl, an Italian princess the only remaining member of her family murdered by the Nazis and also the grandchild of the Marquessa's childhood friend.

This is a classic WWII thriller with lots of hiding and running and a nice range of evil Nazis.  Some of the bad guys are a bit simplistically written but the narrative delivers some pretty good craziness and evil by the end.  I quite enjoyed it and found myself moved at the end.

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