Also writing as V. S. Alexander and Vincent Wilde
From acclaimed author V.S. Alexander comes an absorbing, immersive novel set during World War I, as a talented and ambitious artist finds an unusual calling.
May 1917: The elegant streets of Boston are thousands of miles away from the carnage of the Western Front. Yet even here, amid the clatter of horse-drawn carriages and automobiles, it is impossible to ignore the war raging across Europe. Emma Lewis Swan's husband, Tom, has gone to France, eager to do his duty as a surgeon. Emma, a sculptress, has stayed behind, pursuing her art despite being dismissed by male critics. On the bustling sidewalk she spies a returned soldier. His brutally scarred face inspires first pity, and then something more--a determination to use her skill to make masks for disfigured soldiers.
Leaving Boston for France also means leaving behind Linton Bower, a fiery, gifted artist determined to win her. Emma's union with Tom has been steady yet passionless, marred by guilt over a choice she made long ago. In Paris, she crafts intricate, lifelike masks to restore these wounded men to the world. But in the course of her new career she will encounter one man who compels her to confront the secret she's never revealed, not even to Tom. Only by casting off the façade she has worn for so long can she pursue a path through heartbreak and turmoil toward her own unexpected future...
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Sculptress
“The novel is thoroughly researched, drawing readers fully into the saga with descriptive, often graphic details and strong characterizations. For fans of World War I historical fiction.”- Library Journal
Drawing on the true story of the White Rose—the resistance movement of young Germans against the Nazi regime—The Traitor tells of one woman who offers her life in the ultimate battle against tyranny, during one of history’s darkest hours.
In the summer of 1942, as war rages across Europe, a series of anonymous leaflets appears around the University of Munich, speaking out against escalating Nazi atrocities. The leaflets are hidden in public places, or mailed to addresses selected at random from the phone book. Natalya Petrovich, a student, knows who is behind the leaflets—a secret group called the White Rose, led by siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friends.
As a volunteer nurse on the Russian front, Natalya witnessed the horrors of war first-hand. She willingly enters the White Rose’s circle, where every hushed conversation, every small act of dissent could mean imprisonment or death at the hands of an infuriated Gestapo. Natalya risks everything alongside her friends, hoping the power of words will encourage others to resist. But even among those she trusts most, there is no guarantee of safety—and when danger strikes, she must take an extraordinary gamble in her own personal struggle to survive.
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Irishman’s Daughter
“Accompanied by an expertly rendered plot, bold and empathetic characters, and prose that jumps off the page, this tale will particularly satisfy fans of historicals and those looking for stories about the redeeming grace of faith and hard work.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
From the acclaimed author of The Magdalen Girls and The Taster comes a powerful, unforgettable novel of strength and resilience, set against the backdrop of the Irish famine.
Ireland, 1845. To Briana Walsh, no place on earth is more beautiful than Carrowteige, County Mayo, with its sloping fields and rocky cliffs perched above the wild Atlantic. The small farms that surround the centuries-old Lear House are managed by her father, agent to the wealthy, reckless Sir Thomas Blakely. Tenant farmers sell the oats and rye they grow to pay rent to Sir Thomas, surviving on the potatoes that flourish in the remaining scraps of land. But when the potato crop falls prey to a devastating blight, families Briana has known all her life are left with no food, no resources, and no mercy from the English landowner, who seems indifferent to everything except profit.
Rory Caulfield, the hard-working young farmer Briana hopes to marry, shares the locals’ despair—and their anger. There’s talk of violent reprisals against the callous gentry and their agents. Briana’s studious older sister, Lucinda, dreams of a future far beyond Mayo. But even as hunger and disease settle over the country, killing and displacing millions, Briana knows she must find a way to guide her family through one of Ireland’s darkest
hours—toward hope, love, and a new beginning.
Praise for V.S. Alexander’s The Taster
“This haunting and engrossing novel will appeal to fans of Anthony Doerr and Kristin Hannah.”
“The ‘taster’s’ story adds to a body of nuanced World War II fiction such as Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key. Book clubs and historical fiction fans will love discussing this and will eagerly await more from Alexander.”
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Amid the turbulence of World War II, a young German woman finds a precarious haven closer to the source of danger than she ever imagined—one that will propel her through the extremes of privilege and terror under Hitler’s dictatorship . . .
In early 1943, Magda Ritter’s parents send her to relatives in Bavaria, hoping to keep her safe from the Allied bombs strafing Berlin. Young German women are expected to do their duty—working for the Reich or marrying to produce strong, healthy children. After an interview with the civil service, Magda is assigned to the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat. Only after weeks of training does she learn her assignment: she will be one of several young women tasting the Führer’s food, offering herself in sacrifice to keep him from being poisoned.
Perched high in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof seems worlds away from the realities of battle. Though terrified at first, Magda gradually becomes used to her dangerous occupation—though she knows better than to voice her misgivings about the war. But her love for a conspirator within the SS, and her growing awareness of the Reich’s atrocities, draw Magda into a plot that will test her wits and loyalty in a quest for safety, freedom, and ultimately, vengeance.
Vividly written and ambitious in scope, The Taster examines the harrowing moral dilemmas of war in an emotional story filled with acts of extraordinary courage.
Dublin, 1962. Within the gated grounds of the convent of The Sisters of the Holy Redemption lies one of the city’s Magdalen Laundries. Once places of refuge, the laundries have evolved into grim workhouses. Some inmates are “fallen” women—unwed mothers, prostitutes, or petty criminals. Most are ordinary girls whose only sin lies in being too pretty, too independent, or tempting the wrong man. Among them is sixteen-year-old Teagan Tiernan, sent by her family when her beauty provokes a lustful revelation from a young priest.
Teagan soon befriends Nora Craven, a new arrival who thought nothing could be worse than living in a squalid tenement flat. Stripped of their freedom and dignity, the girls are given new names and denied contact with the outside world. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne, who has secrets of her own, inflicts cruel, dehumanizing punishments—but always in the name of love. Finally, Nora and Teagan find an ally in the reclusive Lea, who helps them endure—and plot an escape. But as they will discover, the outside world has dangers too, especially for young women with soiled reputations.
Told with candor, compassion, and vivid historical detail, The Magdalen Girls is a masterfully written novel of life within the era’s notorious institutions—and an inspiring story of friendship, hope, and unyielding courage.
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