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Waiting for the Violins Paperback – March 18, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

After years of “professing” at universities and writing for international literary journals, and a stint in opera management, Justine Saracen began writing fiction. Saracen lives in Brussels, a short flight or train ride to the great cities she loves to write about. Her favorite non-literary pursuits are parrot pampering, scuba diving, and listening to opera.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626390460
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626390461
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,680,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As historical fiction, the author put a lot of time into researching her subject including interviewing. It has paid off in creating a detailed and interesting portrait of the period. She has woven the characters into this background to create a very dynamic and challenging story. The developing connection between the two main characters is well done in the midst of such hard times. It was a delight to read!
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Format: Paperback
This book stayed with me after I finished it: What would I have done if confronted with the Nazi terror? Looked away? Helped silently where I can? or get more actively involved? And this is the best kind of history book, a book which makes you think - not only about history, but about how history affects those living it and us. And Justine who has already shown her skill in tackling WW II in Tyger, Tyger (and to a certain extend in The Mephisto Aria) again lets come alive those most difficult times in the most recent history of Europe where nobody could stay untainted by the great evil touching all of Europe. Yes, the boches were evil, but so were many others to a lesser or wider degree. Justine focuses on two "heroines" who did more than anyone has any right to expect to right the terrible wrongs of those times. But valor has a stark price! I esp. liked the most realistic "feel" Justine brought to her narrative. I was shivering along in the rain, walked those streets and lived through the times. And kudos for setting a monument to those who lost their lives by using their names and as always thanks for populating history for those unsung same-sex heroes which sure must have existed.
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Format: Paperback
This was a thrilling, charming, and heartrending trip back in time to the early years of World War II and the active resistance enclaves. This story primarily takes place in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, after Belgium has surrendered to the Nazis. There are many heartwarming, amusing, and debilitating tales of life in an occupied country. However, what is so dramatically different than today is the limited communication along with the complications that made reaching out or getting current news so constricted, difficult, and dangerous at that time. With our current world overflowing with social media avenues and instantaneous broadcasting of events, it is a harsh and stark contrast to be presented with the minimal links to news avenues that existed in the early 1940s. Stunning and eye-opening!

Antonia Forrester with her undercover name of Sophie Lajeune was initially a nurse, a member of the Queen Alexandra Royal Army Nursing Corps. She is recruited for a new, highly secret infiltration operation based on her early education and skill. She readily accepts and will be trained as soon as she has recovered from her injuries from the Dunkirk disaster. She has a complicated time connecting with her primary Brussels linkup and then is knocked for an erotic charge upon finally meeting her contact. I totally adored and rooted for Antonia. Intriguing and delightful!

Sandrine Toussaint becomes the de facto head of the 'Comet Line' after the previous leader is captured. This organization evacuates downed pilots and other undocumented folk out of Belgium to Spain or Switzerland. Finally having proof that London will provide replenishments and funds via airplane drops to the Comet Line, Antonia gets to meet Sandrine and establish a partnership.
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Format: Paperback
Antonia, an English nurse, is injured while trying to save British, French and Belgian soldiers fleeing the German invasion of World War 2. Bravely she sneaks into German occupied Brussels, she becomes a part of the underground and meets Sandrine. Together they work "the Comet Line" code name for ensuring downed pilots avoid capture and eventually get to safety.

Eventually Sandrine & Antonia are captured, not shot outright they are prisoners and loaded onto a cattle-car train headed for the concentration death camp at Auschwitz. Luckily they escape and join the Maquis (rural guerrilla bands of French Resistance fighters) fighting in the Ardenne Forests made famous by 'The Battle of the Bulge' (and a surprise to me that it is located in Belgium and not France or Germany). After 4 years of heroics and passion on 1 June 1944 the resistance gets the coded message that Operation Overlord 'D-Day' was to start within two weeks. Then on 5 June at 23:15 they recieve the message to begin sabotage operations becuase the invasion would be less than 48 hours away. Rife with clever twists and thrilling action, the author does a terrific setting the atmosphere of the era. Like a little more? Search "WAITING FOR VIOLINS: A VISIT WITH JUSTINE SARACEN' for a terrific author interview from February 2014, or "Cover Reveal & Author Interview with: Justine Saracen" from January 2014.
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Format: Paperback
The author did an outstanding job on Plot and setting; in contrast there was more telling and not enough showing for the characters and at times it seemed like the dialogue could be a bit wooden. I was on the edge of my seat the whole read - I highly recommend it and hope it wins - it is that good.

Really gripping story; I was totally wrapped up in it and could barely put it down! As for historical accuracy, I'm no historian, but I didn't find any logical fault in the proceedings. The romantic subplot was rather underdeveloped, which seems a given with a story about a British spy and a Resistance fighter in war-riddled Belgium, but what little of that there was I felt quite realistically done and poignant. Very accurate sense of time and place. I happen to know some of the locations where the story is set, and I felt transported there, sixty years in the past. Whether starving Brussels under the occupation, the Ardenne forest, the battles and fights, nightly parachuting behind enemy lines, the deportation camps - everything was depicted with haunting realism.

This is an amazing read, I have loved every pages of it and this kind of writing make me think that this setting, the WWII, is where Mrs Justine Saracen give the best of herself. The book is precise but not pedantic; the historical facts are explained/followed in a way that make the reader interested in them; equilibrated in all it's aspects. So I can only say BRAVO!

This is one of the most exquisite historical novels about WW II, It shows all the nightmares without being nightmarish. Friend and foe are both human. The best is that Justine Saracen honors with the names given those who fought in the front lines, Superbly researched.
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