ARC Review, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Romance, Thriller

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by Dianne Haley

Hiding the worn piece of paper among her father’s watch deliveries, her eyes fill with tears at the memory of her brave friend walking towards the Nazi soldiers, and the sharp sound of gun fire. Her friend sacrificed herself so that she could deliver this message. But if she hands it over, the love of her life will die…

1942, Geneva: As her radio crackles with heart-breaking news from occupied France, Valérie Hallez gazes towards the snow-covered Alps after a long day helping her father, a local watchmaker. With a Nazi invasion looming, she is sick with worry for the future of her country, and for Philippe, her childhood sweetheart with soft brown eyes. Valérie might not be able to join the army like him, but she is determined to play her part in the fight against evil…

In defiance of her father, Valérie helps the French Resistance by smuggling messages among her father’s watch deliveries. And when darkness falls, she risks everything to hide Jewish refugee children in his old workshop. Philippe fears for her safety, as her work for the Resistance could come with a heavy price. But nothing will stop her delivering vital information and getting terrified children to safety before they are sent back to the Nazis.

But when Valérie is entrusted with an urgent letter for the Allies, she finds herself in an impossible position. The information it contains could alter the course of the war. But if she hands over the message now, it will cost Philippe his life. With Nazi spies closing in on her, Valérie must act now… But can she really trust the man she loves, and will she find a way to save both him and her country before it’s too late?

This story is a great balance of historical significance, suspense, thriller, and romance. Not one outweighed the other. I enjoyed this story from beginning to end. There were some nice twists and turns that made this story stand out with those in this genre.

Valérie Hallez is a local young woman helping her father deliver packages all over the city. But she is also secretly helping the French Resistance by hiding refugees in her father’s old workshop until it is safe for them to cross the border. I enjoyed this character. She felt real and not an over-the-top superhero (not that she is not). The author did an amazing job of expressing Valérie’s personality. As a reader, you know how she feels through her quirks and amazingly keeps her thoughts to herself. There is so much Valérie goes through in this story it is hard not seeing her strength and determination growing.

Phillipe is Valérie’s childhood sweetheart and a soldier in the Swiss army. At first, I was not sure about him. But I ended up enjoying him as well. His love for making maps showed in his excitement and disappointment. And his love for his country matched with his actions. In his own way, he went through just as much as Valérie, and his strength grew just as well.

The setting of this book is based in Geneva, Switzerland early 1940s. The author did an amazing job describing the story within this real-world location. As a reader, you can imagine the stores and marketplaces along the route Valérie takes during her deliveries, and the clothing style and harsh weather she and the residents wear. Being based during World War 2, the author describes the struggles Switzerland faces with supplies, police, Nazis, the allies, and the effects of being a neutral country.

Because of its mountainous nature, Switzerland was a neutral country during World War 2, and it significantly interested hostile states as the scene for diplomacy, espionage, and commerce, as well as being a haven for refugees.

I love historical based stores. It is one way to time travel and experience the eras without actually experiencing it (I mean, I personally would not want to wear the Victorian style dresses). The Watchmaker’s Daughter was a story about courage during one of our world’s darkest times. I would recommend this to anyone who loves World War 2 era-based stories, romance, thrillers, and courage.

*I received an ARC from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 3/5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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