“It is rare that I review a novel set in post-19th Century, but I made an exception in the case of David-Michael Harding’s historical fiction novel How Angels Die.
How Angels Die spans 4 days in the lives of 2 sisters, Monique and Claire McCleash. Daughters of an Irishman and French woman, they live in occupied France in June, 1944.
Both sisters are involved in the Resistance against their German occupiers. They utilize different tactics of fighting back.
Monique uses her feminine appeal and wiles to gain the confidence of German officers. Claire believes the only way to strike against their oppressors is to kill. She harbors great hatred against the Germans. Monique has more empathy, especially for those who are innocently drawn into the conflict.
The sisters’ father feels condemnation for his daughter, Monique, and her involvement with German officers, while her mother is less judgmental. Likewise, Clair’s father is supportive of Claire’s efforts and her mother appears to disapprove of Claire’s killing lust.
These 4 days chronicle Monique and Claire’s difference of opinions about each other’s choices and the beginning of the deterioration of their relationship.
That is until one sister discovers the other in danger of her life.
What unfolds is a very human depiction of love, betrayal, misunderstanding, tragedy, loss and forgiveness.
Harding has written of occupied France from a unique perspective. He delves into the psyches of his 2 main characters, as well as ancillary ones, in a believable fashion with attributes and faults readers can sympathise and empathise with.
How Angels Die meshes subplots seamlessly into the main plot to give this historical fiction novel depth.
Harding pulls you into How Angels Die. This historical fiction novel doesn’t let you go, even after you turn the last page.
I found myself thinking about How Angels Die the last few days after I finished reading it and commenced another novel. In my opinion, this is a hallmark of an excellent historical fiction novel. I’m glad I made the exception.