FICTION

The Hidden Palace

HarperCollins (Daughters of War, Bk. 2). Nov. 2022. 528p. ISBN 9780008544621. pap. $16.99. F
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Jefferies’s atmospheric sequel to Daughters of War takes Florence Baudin to Malta at her estranged mother’s behest. Since she left her family in the 1920s, Claudette has only a single letter from her sister, Rosalie. The dual-time line narrative follows Rosalie, as she attempts to build a new life in the 1920s, and Florence, who hasn’t found a moment’s peace since fleeing Nazi-occupied France. Both arrive in Malta finding it is not what they expected. Florence attempts to unravel her family’s secrets amid the destruction on the island, all while balancing guilt for leaving her sisters and memories of a past that refuses to let her go. Jefferies (The Tea Planter’s Wife) infuses her characters with carefully considered personalities and unique traits against a vivid backdrop of the Mediterranean and the English countryside.
VERDICT This second installment in the “Daughters of War” trilogy encompasses the rich sense of place and strong female characters that fans have come to expect from Jefferies. On its own, the novel paints a vibrant picture of family, survival, and courage in war-torn Europe.
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