“Everyone is out for themselves, Clara. You may think someone is thinking the same as you, but
they will do anything to protect themselves.”
Fifteen-year-old Clara Pape spends most of her time daydreaming and resisting anything her parents say about growing up and applying herself. Little does she know, when all she wants is to leave school and worry about what to wear or what film to see at the cinema, that she will be sent off to learn French in the small village of Plérin in Brittany, Northern France. Reluctant at first, living day-to-day, she decides she may in fact enjoy a summer away, but soon her self-discoveries leave her away from home much longer than anticipated.
Yet, talk of war after leaving her hometown of Preston, Lancashire in 1935 clouds Clara’s coming-of-age classic adolescent adventures. With Germany wanting to take revenge for their defeat in the Great War and their invasion of Czechoslovakia, France and Britain may no longer stand on the sidelines. Clara’s never known anything about war, and her mother urges her to return. Instead of exploring her age of innocence, she stumbles into coping with suffering, searching for meaning, and discovering happiness, sorrow, love and the heart-pounding, dangerous liaisons of WWII that transform her adolescence into secrets, lies and hidden French resistance ties.
Suddenly, she is defying German orders and thrown into the intrigues of the war that threaten her life and may shatter her newfound passions, friendships and innocence for good. What began as a simple country life turns into one encounter after another that unfolds in this family saga set in pre- and post-war France, Britain and the USA, forever plunging her into the grip of a life resting on secrets that she can’t untangle. Will she ever be able to get past the French secrets?
Drawing on her passion for historical war novels set in her home Island of Jersey, Anita has spent the last few years writing the Pape family saga, offering a rare glimpse into a girl’s coming of age and its unforeseen consequences, set off by ties to the French resistance, on her future as a mother, wife and woman.