Aunt Priscilla Collaborated with Nazis? Nicholas Shakespeare found out why


Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman Living in Wartime France by Nicholas Shakespeare shows “just how blurred the lines of survival and collaboration were during this time of upheaval, especially for women.” So does Jenna Blum’s “Those Who Save Us” and Martena Warner’s “Lights in a Black Forest.” (I’ll blog about those novels, soon, I hope.)

“Using painstaking research Nicholas Shakespeare finally unravels the mystery of his aunt’s life in occupied France. His investigations lay to rest many assumptions, and misrepresentations that her friends and family had spent years repeating, Priscilla’s nephew portrays his beloved aunt as a flawed and complex woman with great honesty and affection. Nicholas Shakespeare’s pursuit of the truth is exhaustive and wonderfully detailed. This was a compelling and fascinating book and as much of a page turner as many novels.” via @Heaven_ali

I’m reblogging excerpts from Melissa Marsh and Heaven_ali here. Please click on the links below to read the whole blog entries. I plan to read the novel, too.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2014 blog by Melissa Marsh

Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France

Many of the stories that come out of Wartime France are about those who risked everything to fight the Germans. Brave men and women fought in the Resistance or hid Jews or did whatever small act of civil disobedience they could to take a stand against the Nazis.This is not one of those stories.Instead, this is a story of survival, of guilt, of shame, and of collaboration.When author Nicholas Shakespeare was young, he used to go with his parents to his aunt and uncle’s house in rural England. His Aunt Priscilla always mystified and fascinated him at the same time. Who was this woman, really? He didn’t find out until after she’d passed on and he was gifted with a treasure trove of her wartime letters, journals, and photographs.Priscilla had been a British citizen living in France during the Occupation. But her documents revealed a very different person than what he’d previously thought.In what must have been an exhausting search, he went to archives, followed leads, tried (and sometimes found) people who knew her. More and more of the puzzle began to fill in, but it was creating an astonishing picture. In short, if Priscilla had not returned back to England in 1944, after the liberation of France, she would have had her head shaved and been paraded around the town as a German collaborator.It may be easy to immediately dismiss Priscilla after reading such a damning conviction. But that is one thing you simply cannot do when reading Shakespeare’s remarkable book. For Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman Living in Wartime France shows just how blurred the lines of survival and collaboration were during this time of upheaval, especially for women.
See also
 September 12, 2011
For fifty years, Heinrich Warner manages to forget his lost friends, family and homeland in WWII Germany. At night, he dreams to life again the ghosts of his childhood. By day, he chooses to forget them. But  ghosts do not stay hidden forever, especially in the mind of an old man who can no longer remember what is real…

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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