Reviews

  • "A pin-sharp biography which unfurls like gripping fiction… wonderful, haunting, thought-provoking"

    Melanie Reid, The Times
  • "I have not read a better portrait of the moral impossibility of that time and place for people, like Priscilla, who found themselves trapped in it... A wonderful book"

    Daily Telegraph
  • "As Shakespeare acknowledges, his aunt’s is one of millions of wartime stories. But thanks to the extensive paperwork, and his energetic digging, he creates a detailed and vivid narrative. This is a moving, and constantly surprising story"

    Matthew Bell, Independent on Sunday
  • "So gripping it reads like a novel"

    Rachel Johnson, Evening Standard
  • "This mysterious story of the Occupation in France has all the qualities of a fascinating novel, with exquisite social, sexual and moral nuance"

    Antony Beevor
  • "Shakespeare offers a nuanced and detailed psychological study of the effect of the Second World war on an ordinary woman. The result is just as absorbing as any biography of a war hero"

    Sunday Times
  • "Nicholas Shakespeare has employed all his superb gifts as a writer to tell the picaresque tale of his aunt in wartime occupied France. Priscilla is a femme fatale worthy of fiction, and the author traces her tangled, troubled, romantic and often tragically unromantic experiences through one of the most dreadful periods of 20th-century history"

    Max Hastings
  • "Priscilla brilliantly exposes the tangled complexities behind that question so easily asked from the comfort of a peacetime armchair: “What would I have done?""

    Observer
  • "Priscilla's descent into hell runs eerily parallel to that of France itself; Faustian, fascinating and in the end extremely sad"

    Sebastian Faulks, Observer, Books of the Year
  • "An account of the author’s aunt’s life in France under the Nazis. Her descent parallels that of France: Grim but fascinating"

    Sebastian Faulks, Observer