May 1940. Hitler invades France, a move that threatens all of Europe, and three lives intersect at Wickwythe Hall, an opulent estate in the English countryside—a beautiful French refugee, a take-charge American heiress, and a charming champagne vendeur with ties to Roosevelt and Churchill, who isn’t what he seems. There, secrets and unexpected liaisons unfold, until a shocking tragedy in a far off Algerian port binds them forever…
Wickwythe Hall is inspired by actual people, places and events, including Operation Catapult, a sea action in which Churchill launched a bloody attack on the French fleet to keep the powerful ships out of Hitler’s reach. Over 1,000 French sailors, who just days before fought side-by-side with the British, perished. Humanizing this forgotten piece of history, Wickwythe Hall takes the reader behind the blackout curtains of upper-class England, through the bustling private quarters of Churchill's Downing Street, and along the tense back alleys of occupied Vichy, illustrating what it took to survive in the dark, early days of World War II.
|Publisher:||Black Opal Books|
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.71(d)|
About the Author
Judithe Little grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After a brief time studying in France and interning at the US Department of State, she earned her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She lives with her husband and three children in Houston, Texas.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wickwythe Hall, by Judith Little is an amazing story set during WWII. The collection of real and fictional characters weave emotion and tactical maneuvers into a compelling story about surviving Hitler’s siege. I felt like I was watching an old black and white film, starring Katherine Hepburn as Marbry. I love the rich history woven into the novel along with the very real dialogue. The author does a wonderful job of combining the thoughts and movements of her characters, and is careful to balance the fictional love story with the actual history of WWII. If you love Doctor Zhivago, you will love Little’s smooth flowing tale of a Virginia heiress, a champagne businessman, a French refugee and so much more.
Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little is the kind of book I love, so I’m not at all surprised that it won First Place for Historical Fiction in this year’s Reader Views Literary Awards. It’s the perfect blend of history and interesting characters you come to care about. Right from the opening pages, the reader is caught up in the dilemma faced by Annelle, a young French woman who was orphaned with her two brothers and grew up in a convent. It’s May 1940 and the Germans have just invaded France. Annelle has intended to become a nun, but now with her older brothers fighting in North Africa and the sisters at the convent wanting to pray rather than flee to safety, Annelle makes the split decision to flee south, hoping to reach North Africa and find her brothers. The reader witnesses Annelle’s excruciating flight along the French roads, on her bicycle until it is damaged, and then on foot. Eventually, through a twist of events, she gets out of France, but rather than going to North Africa, she finds herself a refugee in England. And that’s just what happens in the opening chapter. Once in England, Annelle finds herself working at Wickwythe Hall. The other servants are suspicious that she might be a spy, but all Annelle is concerned about is finding a way to communicate with her brothers. The large English country estate is owned by Tony and Mabry Springs. Tony is a landed British aristocrat, but Mabry is an American heiress who isn’t as caught up in doing things the English way as her husband and those around her. Mabry is very concerned that the war will soon lead to an invasion of England, and she is doing everything she can to help the war effort, including taking in twenty-three children who are being sent to the country from London for their safety. Tony and Mabry also have connections with important people, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill. One week, Churchill comes to visit and the house is turned into central command for the war effort. It is hard enough for Mabry and the staff to meet all of Churchill’s idiosyncratic requests, but even harder for Mabry is that in Churchill’s entourage is Reid Carr, a fellow American whose proposal of marriage she long ago refused. What makes Wickwythe Hall such a wonderful novel is that the characters come to life in its pages. I became deeply enmeshed in their decisions and especially Mabry’s temptations to break her marriage vows to be with Reid. The novel’s conclusion is not what I would have expected, and yet it ends perfectly. The other great thing about this novel is that not only is it historically accurate but it teaches the reader new things about history. Operation Catapult, which I had never heard of before, becomes central to the novel. It concerns Churchill’s efforts to keep the French fleet from becoming Hitler’s property to be used against England. I won’t say more about how Little works this historical event into the plot because it will ruin the novel’s suspense. Little knows how to reassure us of good in the world, while still giving us a realistic depiction of how frightening and stressful war can be, and how brave the English were in their opposition to Hitler.
I enjoyed reading this World War II Historical Novel. The novel centers around Annelle LeMaire as she escapes from France as Hitler invades. She becomes caught up in Dunkirk and finds refuge at Wickwythe Hall. The Lady of the Manor Mabry Springs has her own heartbreak and offers a refuge for children and statesmen during war. American Reid Carr has arrived as an advisor between Churchill and Roosevelt. All three are drawn together because of the war, their desire to help the war effort and heal their heartbreak. The author does a very good job with the setting and the historical background. This book will appeal to fans of World War II Historical Fiction. Enjoy
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/18) “Wickwythe Hall” by Judithe Little is an emotional and touching story about the lives of three people during World War II, at the time of Hitler’s invasion of France in 1940. Inspired by real people, places and events in history, this whirlwind novel will no doubt leave an imprint on your heart long after you finish reading. Mabry Springs is an American heiress who lives at Wickwythe Hall with her husband Tony. Annelle LeMaire is a French refugee from a nunnery who fled when German soldiers crossed (went around) The Maginot Line, a barrier built along the border of Germany. Reid Carr is an account representative for Pol Roger Champagne, works under cover as a top level liaison between Churchill and Roosevelt. All three have suffered extreme loss and hardship throughout their lives and are determined to overcome their personal tragedies. As the innermost secrets of each begin to unfold, the war moves closer to England, and Wickwythe Hall, a beautiful estate in the English countryside becomes a safe haven for many. An enchanting historical fiction novel, “Wickwythe Hall” is a well rounded and beautiful story that is part espionage thriller, romance, coming of age, and history. Judithe Little writes with a seamless flair, taking the readers across countries and settings right alongside her characters. Using stunning detail, she completely absorbs her readers, with scenes so vividly drawn one feels to be an actual participant in the drama. The author’s extensive research stands out through her storytelling, depicting with heart-wrenching detail some unforgettable moments that actually called me to want to learn more about this period in history. One such moment was Operation Catapult, Churchill’s devastating maneuver to keep the French naval fleet out of Hitler’s hands. The tension building on both sides is incredible with the French trying to convince the English that they will not give up their fleet to Hitler. Churchill cannot take the risk however, and England’s attack on her own ally is sobering and chilling to the very core. And while the striking authenticity of historical events portrayed in “Wickwythe Hall” are compelling enough to keep readers engaged, for me it was the characters that captured my heart and made this story shine. I felt I was actually experiencing the challenges of each from inside their heads. Every character pulls you into their point of view, from the three protagonists, to the kitchen help at Wickwythe Hall, the elite relatives and guests staying at the manor, to Winston Churchill—each one draws you into their head and I became heavily invested in the outcomes. “Wickwythe Hall” is a must read for fans of historical fiction during the WWII era. With a dramatic storyline, engaging characters, and a romantic angle that leads to a surprising conclusion, Judithe Little has created a story that will capture the hearts of many in this noteworthy debut.