Tangled Ashes was the first fictional novel I have read in a long time. Locations, historical buildings, and events that occurred during World War II reflect an accuracy that surrounds fictional characters. Knowing this book was set during the Nazi occupation of France, I looked forward to reading it.
Marie and Elise are two 17-year-old girls, forced to grow up overnight when France is invaded by the Nazi regime. To support their families, they take on jobs at Nazi headquarters, Meunier Manor. When questionable changes begin happening, the girls must decide who to remain true to and which version of "the truth" is the real thing.
50 years later, main characters, Becker (Beck) and Jade, are two wounded souls; each seeking solace in different ways. Beck has come to France as a skilled architect/woodworker to tackle an immense castle renovation. He finds himself fighting the same emotional, self-medicating battle that he yearns to be free from. Jade, who seemingly has everything put together in her life, is fighting a battle of her own.
As characters' lives begin to unfold, mysterious events of vandalism at the castle put individuals on alert. Seeing how puzzle pieces fit together weaves an intriguing story where the past becomes the present and choices are forced on everyone involved. Even 50-years later, decisions made by Marie, Elise, and others involved are affecting lives.
I don't believe this book lacked for interest. However, I was disappointed that there was minimal Biblical outreach. As a Christian-authored novel, Tangled Ashes possibly offered more potential Biblical discussion by way of the "questions" section, where you could dig deeper into the hows and whys of the story. In addition, while remaining true to Beck's tormented character, the reader is given fill-in-the-blank cuss words; I don't care for that aspect. I feel the author developed Beck's character well in my mind without the addition of said words.
Knowing that the author actually grew up in the setting of this book and enjoyed the beautiful historical buildings she describes makes this book feel closer to "real life". Michele Phoenix holds these places in high esteem and brings her cherished memories into your imagination.
I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.