Publisher's Note:  

When the Germans begin bombing London in World War II, Betty is determined to do her part. Instead of running air raid drills like most girls her age, she lies about her age and trains to become a spy. Now known by her secret agent persona, Adele Blanchard, she finds herself parachuting over German-occupied France under the cover of darkness to join the secret Resistance movement. Prepared to die for her cause, Adele wasn’t expecting to make a new best friend in her fellow agent or fall for a handsome American pilot. With the brutality of war ever present, can Adele dare to dream of a future where the world is at peace and she is free to live and love of her own accord?

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Walker & Company

Violins of Autumn

by Amy McAuley

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Overall Review:  

With its evocatively realistic language and determined heroine, Violins of Autumn drew me in immediately and kept me in its thrall until the very last page. Amy McAuley does a terrific job of blending the simple, happy details of everyday life with the harsh realities and heart-pounding dangers of wartime, creating a nuanced and multi-layered portrait of occupied France during World War II that felt so real that it was hard to remember that I was't in France myself! I particularly appreciated how well McAuley balances both the grief and horrors of WWII with the sweetness and hope of the beauty in the French countryside, strong, vibrant characters, and first love. Although at times the present-tense narration felt forced and created a few awkward passages, I had a hard time coming up with other critiques of this book. Violins of Autumn is a novel I won't be forgetting anytime soon.


This is a review of an uncorrected proof.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 12 religious exclamations; 11 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 5 derogatory names; 3 anatomical terms; 10 instances of British profanity ("bloody" and "bugger").


Violence/Gore: In several scenes, a character is subjected to torture (physical and psychological); there are two instances of prolonged torture (a page each) and several other references to various methods of torture where little to no detail is given. Throughout the story, soldiers are shot in combat; no graphic detail is ever given, although some of the shots do end in death. A character tells another character that a traitor has been shot; while no detail of the death is given, the scene is emotionally intense. There are several non-detailed references to Nazi brutality. An airplane crash lands after being shot down (no graphic detail is given). Soldiers rough up two young men on the street (no lasting harm is done). Characters travel through the catacombs of Paris, which are filled with bones. A character pushes a character off a ledge into a river of sewage resulting in a death. A story is told about a car accident with two fatalities (no graphic description and the story is brief). A character is shot and dies in an emotionally intense scene.


Sex/Nudity: Characters flirt and kiss on many occasions (two kisses are described as being passionate). A woman is stripped down and searched in a prison. A character is said to have made a homosexual slur. A woman is said to be having an affair.

Mature Subject Matter:  

War, espionage, capture, torture, death of loved ones.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A comment is made about cigarettes being rationed. A girl says she is "dying for a cigarette." A bar is described as full of smoke. Characters (two of them underage) visit a bar. Characters drink alcohol in a few instances. A character becomes drunk. A character is offered a cigarette, and smokes it.

Reviewed By CindyB
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