Cry of the Heart: A World War II Novel by Martin Lake

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She gave away her child to save his life. Another woman took him in, at risk to herself.

Viviane Renaud is a young mother living on the French Riviera in the Second World War. Times are hard but she is not the sort to be dismayed by circumstances. One day her life changes forever. A young Jewish woman, fleeing from the authorities, begs her to take care of her four year old boy, David. Almost without thinking, Viviane agrees.

Viviane’s life is never the same again. She fabricates a story to explain how David came to be with her and must tip-toe around the suspicions of her neighbours, her friends and most of all her mother and sister. She and her husband, Alain, find allies in unlikely places, particularly an American woman, Dorothy Pine.

But then, the world crashes around them. Threatened by Allied military success, Hitler sends the German army to occupy the south of France. With them come the SS and the Gestapo. The peril for Jews and for those, like Viviane, who hide them, appears overwhelming. The challenge for them now is to survive.


A war torn country where reality changes frequently, and never for the better. A thrilling and very poignant tale of the struggle to survive oppression, economic chaos, food shortages, and the fear produced when you don’t know who to trust, even in your own family. I was grabbed from page one; the absolute horror of the opening chapter sets the stage for an emotional saga that gives one pause to wonder about the strength and resilience of the amazing characters the author has created. A story that highlights the immense problems faced by the civilian population in occupied France. I was entranced by the daily struggles, the black market dealings, the guts and will to find a way to just remain alive; all components of a well told tale. Cry of the Heart draws you in, tugs at your heartstrings, and instills a sense of incredulity that this story has been told so many times over the millennia, and we never learn.   5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐