Customer Reviews


64 Reviews
5 star:
 (25)
4 star:
 (23)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
This book had me hooked from start to finish .. and helped me appreciate the difficulties faced by people such as Priscilla (and French women in particular) during the German occupation of France. There were some two million French POWs kept in German prison camps during the occupation (something I was unaware of), with their womenfolk largely left to fend for themselves...
Published 13 months ago by PedroTheSwift

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not your usual wartime story.
I enjoyed most of this book as it didn't sugar coat or romanticise the occupation of wartime France. It provokes the reader to ask themselves how they would have behaved under similar circumstances.

What I did find a little uncomfortable was reading about unsavoury or less that heroic behaviour by individuals who are no longer around to either defend themselves...
Published 15 months ago by Carol Dean


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 47 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Priscilla: The Hidden Life, 20 May 2014
This is a beautifully written book.
Glamour, beauty, lovers. And behind
this front, the trauma of a miserable
childhood which is never healed. An utterly
poignant account of psychological survival
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-researched true story which reads like a novel. Compelling and memorable., 22 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved this book, as did my husband, and we have recommended it to all our friends of one of the books we have most enjoyed recently. Shakespeare paints a wonderful portrait of his aunt and her survival in wartime France. It is also a brilliant portrait of the fall of France in 1940 and the sordid underside of occupied Paris.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Dec. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent factual book loved it - couldn't put it down. Well written and lots of World War II information. Highly recommend.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thhis was no heroine, 2 May 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After reading the review this was a big disappointment . I thought it badly written and the persistent name-dropping became very irritating rather than adding interest - Often a well known name would be mentioned for no other reason than to show that Priscilla had met him/her. One expected more from the section dealing with her internment in France during the Occupation but the writer just wasn't up to the subject( or simply didn't know enough about it). Even more unfortunately - for me anyway, his presentation of Priscilla elicited no grain of sympathy from me - I found her totally unlikable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more like a character from May Wesley's "The Camomile Lawn, 27 Sept. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France (Hardcover)
I commend Nicholas Shakespeare in many ways for this book though I have a few criticisms. While I accept that he had a personal interest in Prisicilla Mais as his half-aunt I did not think she came across as a particularly interesting person, more like a character from May Wesley's "The Camomile Lawn," Calypso perhaps. A great great aunt of mine was also in Besancon, then released and allowed to return to her Paris apartment. It wouldn't enter my head to turn that into a book. My grandmother escaped France with her children courtesy of the 2nd BEF from Saint Malo. Both my mother and aunt were infinitely more worthwhile people than Priscilla insofar as they each joined the WRNS and the WAAF as soon as they were eligible to do so. Compared to many infinitely more interesting people that might attract research of this nature, Priscilla Mais really seems a bit slight and that the only focus of interest is screwing around in Occupied Paris with fringe members of the collabo community.

I also feel that aspects of Nicholas Shakespeare's research are not very sure footed. Dunkirk and the withdrawal of the 2nd BEF were distinctly separate events, which does not quite come across in NS's narrative. Nor does one get the feeling that he understands military formations; to say that Rommel's 7th Panzer Div bivouacked at Boisgrimont, hmmm, - a division is usually more than 10,000 men, so that's a lot of tents on that tree lined front avenue. Nor does he seem to understand that Operation Otto was a more general theft project from Occupied France than just art, which mostly came under the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg, based at the Jeu de Paume.

Also the story seems to turn on some very slight and unconvincing problems. So Priscilla's French aristo husband was impotent was he? It is generally not a good idea for a man 40+ to have a large supper washed down with several glasses of wine if he's intending to bed a younger woman afterwards. And surely a dutiful Catholic convert wife would encourage him to see his doc before reaching for a parade of lovers while remaining fond of him. Besides, among Catholics, non-consummation is sufficient cause for an annulment.

However, I was interested by this book and, despite its glaring flaws, enjoyed the verve with which it was written and the atmosphere of Occupied Paris which NS often conjured up very well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, 7 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I first heard a little of this being read on Radio 4 and went on to purchase it... I am only mid-way through but it is excellent ; a fascinating read... Nicholas Shakespeare is an accomplished author and story teller and he draws a vivid portrait of Priscilla and her times. I have to ration my reading or else nothing else would get done! Buy it and read it!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars remains a hidden life..., 24 July 2014
By 
Zangiku (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
this is an exciting & educational read about a variety of lives under the nazi occupation of france, a period about which not much is commonly known. it is well written and there is much to learn here.

but historians would wish the book had been written as fiction rather than "non." there is really no reliable evidence about P's sensational relationships with the high-ranking nazis plundering europe of art treasures, a fact which the author admits but does not allow to stop him from speculating rather wildly, being able to "well imagine her" sitting in Maxim's with these guys as they sieg-heiled each other and so on. this kind of speculation, altho it would have made a helluva novel, is odious in a book calling itself non-fiction and on which the subject is no longer alive to defend or explain herself.

she remains, in fact, a mystery and it remains a hidden life. abandoned or betrayed by virtually everyone she loved, one wishes she might have been treated rather better by the little boy whom she always let crawl onto her bed and watch her telly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 24 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a very good book. What an interesting life this lady led. It must have been very interesting to have researched he life. It was very good to read as her life unfolded.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Englishwoman in wartime France, 11 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I gave this book a four star rating as it was so good to read. It obviously was a complete surprise to Nicholas Shakespeare that his deceased aunt Priscilla had such a covert life living in France during WWII. It is understandable how so many people did not speak of their experiences during the war as the way of life and what happened (extreme cruelty, starvation interment etc.) was horrific. When the author found missing papers after his aunt's death it must have been quite enlightening to open a "pandoras" box as to her behaviour and life in war torn France . How Priscilla managed to live (physically) unharmed during WWII when the Germans occupied France is amazing - although mentally it would have taken quite a toll. This is an extremely detailed explanation of Priscilla's life and movements and I could recommend this book to those who are interested in the events which occurred during WWII in France. Annabel
.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written and highly readable, 13 July 2014
A fascinating story, thoroughly researched, impartial and balanced in its telling despite the family connection. Her bravery and boldness shine through the atmosphere of fear and distrust. Very well written and highly readable .
I heard Nicholas Shakespeare talk about the book at the Chalke Valley History Festival to a packed tent and the long queues for a signed copy afterwards were testament to the interest this book sparked. I recommend it highly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 47 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France
Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France by Nicholas Shakespeare (Hardcover - 7 Nov. 2013)
£15.90
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews