Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France

Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime FrancePriscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France by Nicholas Shakespeare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**Advanced Reading/Review copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review**

I won this book through the Goodreads giveaways, and I was honestly intrigued by the whole concept. I've read many WWII books, from the perspective of the Jewish people who perished in Nazi concentration camps, and from historians who were doing research on the U.S. Soldiers and what they faced in the European and Pacific Theaters, but I'd never read one from the perspective of just a person who lived through it in Europe.

The story centers on the author's Aunt, Priscilla, who was the daughter of the at the time famous radio personality SPB Mais. Priscilla grew up in England, under her parents' unhappy marriage, until they finally split. She dealt with her mom's awful boyfriends and flings, and grew apart from her father. Her best friend Gillian is all that really helped her through most of her teen years.

Priscilla married a French noble very young, and soon found herself in a loveless marriage. During the occupation, Priscilla was with a lot of men, which helped her survive. She depended on German sympathizers for support and protection, and yes, she was in relationships with quite a few of them. They didn't all help her though, as she ended up finding herself in a Nazi internment camp for foreign women who happened to find themselves in France.

After the internment camp though, she was back with her various men. After the war, Priscilla suffered from PTSD, and did end up finding love with a man who ran a mushroom farm. She slipped into alcoholism as she suffered through her stress from the war, and eventually died of a brain tumor.

This book was a very interesting book, but not really what I thought it was going to be about. I expected to see a lot of day to day stuff, such as dealing with food shortages, and dealing with Nazi personnel, and while that was touched on, what this most focused on was how Priscilla chose men to help her survive. The author muses at one point about how to most people his aunt would be considered a loose woman, but that was what some women did to survive the occupation. We can't really judge them, since we weren't there.

I love biographies, and I love WWII, so, this book was right up my alley. As I said, it wasn't quite what I expected, but it was still an interesting and entertaining read, and I'm glad I picked it up.

Lady D


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