France, 1918. Nurse Marcelle Marchand has important secrets to keep. Her role as a spy has made her both feared and revered, but it has also put her in extreme danger from the approaching German army.
American soldier George Mountcastle feels an instant connection to the young nurse. But in times of war, love must wait. Soon, George and his best friend Philip are fighting for their lives during the Second Battle of the Marne, where George prevents Philip from a daring act that might have won the battle at the cost of his own life.
On the run from a victorious Germany, George and Marcelle begin a new life with Philip and Marcelle’s twin sister, Rosalie, in a brutally occupied France. Together, this self-made family navigates oppression, near starvation, and unfathomable loss, finding love and joy in unexpected moments.
Years pass, and tragedy strikes, sending George on a course that could change the past and rewrite history. Playing with time is a tricky thing. If he chooses to alter history, he will surely change his own future—and perhaps not for the better.
***Thanks to NetGalley and Forge Books for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
enjoyable/easy to read:
Midnight on the Marne has to be one of the most unique historical fiction war stories I’ve read. This alternate history of the first world war, hinging on the actions of a select few characters, will have you questioning the potential outcomes of all your choices.
If she had known the cruelty to come, if she had been warned that what she had witnessed that day would pale in comparison to what her future held, Marcelle might not have fought so hard to survive that winter. She might have offered herself mercy.
This is an incredibly complex story with a lot of details. It took a while to immerse myself in the story – there was a disconnect between present-day Marcelle and the past that she could not remember – but once we’re settled more firmly in the past, I could not get enough. The only book I’ve read even similar to Midnight on the Marne would be The Kingdoms, and while Midnight on the Marne is definitely an improvement, the story did drag at times, weighed down by all the details. The upside to this is a story full of rich, complicated characters.
It was in these moments that Marcelle understood how her fractured and scarred life was also an amazingly beautiful gift, and how she was wonderfully fortunate to have become a part of this unlikely family.