Waiting for the Violins

Waiting for the Violins - Justine Saracen I devour historical lesfic like other people devour their paranormals. And when it comes to this genre, Ms. Saracen is an automatic buy for me. Her name on the book is like a seal of quality, authenticity, and a rollicking good read.

Antonia Forrester (what a strange name for an Englishwoman) is a nurse who is injured in Dunkirk. While recovering from her injuries, she is recruited as an operative to infiltrate Belgium. But the plane is shot down and she is lost and alone in enemy territory.

She eventually manages to hook up with the local resistance groups and thats when the action begins.

Everything about the book lived up to my expectations except for one thing--the characterization of Antonia, which I find a bit lacking, especially at the start of the book. I don't know if the author is given a maximum number of pages to keep to (BSB books are almost invariably 200+ pages only in length). A lot happens in the book, so the happenings take up most of the pages. I would have loved to get into the head of Antonia more. She could have been such a fascinating character. Why would a nurse who just cheated death jump from the frying pan into the fire by skydiving into occupied Brussels? I never did find out. I did not feel her desperation when she landed all alone behind enemy lines. These were some instances which could have been milked for their emotional impact (I want my angst! lol) but weren't--a missed opportunity, imho.

Sandrine fared better. In fact, the story really perked up when the two characters meet. The romance was quite well developed. The interactions between Antonia and Sandrine are a joy to read. There was something about their romance that I thought was a little out of place or more accurately, out of time. It was the concept of marriage and the exchange of rings. Too 21st century to fit in a 1940s f/f relationship, perhaps?

Sandrine's last minute intervention w/Rommel was a genius bit of plotting--truly vintage Saracen, and something I always look forward to in her books. It reminded me of the man-on-the-cross incident in Vulture, and the BSB reference in Sarah. I'm sorry but I have such high standards for Ms. Saracen. I was expecting--I wanted a Leni, or a Sarah, or any of those larger-than-life characters in 100th Gen/Ibis. After reading those books, the characters stayed with me forever.

Despite my rants, I quite look forward to her next book about Russian pilots. Ms. Saracen is currently without peer. She's the only lesfic author who writes lesbian romances into historically accurate stories that have engrossing, thrilling, realistic plots, and her historical fantasies are bold, somewhat heretical, one-of-a-kind mixes of history, mythology and fantasy.

4.5 stars