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British author Ironside (Death in the Garden) convincingly depicts the trauma of life in Vichy France in her compelling second novel. In 1944, after the Allied liberation, Theo de Cazalle, who faked his death four years earlier and joined the French Resistance, returns to his remote country estate, Bonnemort, where someone has slit the throat of a German officer and dumped the naked corpse in front of the house. De Cazalle suspects his wife, Ariane, believed to have betrayed her countrymen by becoming the Nazi's mistress, of the murder. Through flashbacks, which include Ariane's perspective as well as that of a Jewish schoolgirl Ariane has rescued and is concealing, Ironside deftly presents the powerlessness of her characters and the hard moral compromises they have to make to survive. Finally, amid multiple horrors and personal sacrifices, the author succeeds in making the fate of a beloved farm animal moving. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.