Check Out This Historical Fiction! | Blog Tour + Excerpt: Madame Fiocca by Suzy Henderson

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Do you love historical fiction that is based on true stories? Madame Fiocca is right up your alley and definitely worth the read.


 

Madame Fiocca
by Suzy Henderson

Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Historical, Young Adult
A must-read gripping adventure based on the true story of Nancy Wake, Gestapo’s most wanted. Soon to be a major feature film.

February 1933: Nancy Wake is a gregarious twenty-year-old looking for adventure. Having fled her unhappy family home in Sydney, she becomes a journalist and is thrilled when she is posted to Paris. The city is glamorous, brimming with journalists, artists, and a growing number of refugees.

Later, in the French Riviera, she uncovers more than news following a chance encounter with wealthy industrialist, Henri Fiocca. Their relationship blossoms as Hitler makes waves across Europe. While on an assignment in Vienna in 1938, she witnesses Nazis whipping Jews on the street and she vows to fight for justice if ever the opportunity arises.

When Henri is called to the Front to fight, Nancy, determined to help the war effort, joins the Red Cross as an ambulance driver. Every day she witnesses atrocities. When Paris falls, Nancy flees the German oppressors and returns to Marseille.

A chance encounter with a British officer draws Nancy into the heart of the Garrow escape network, despite Henri’s reservations. Soon she finds herself caught in a deadly game of espionage.

As the iron fist of the enemy tightens, neighbours denounce neighbours. When the enemy closes in, Nancy and Henri face an impossible choice. Has she done more harm than good?

Based on a true story, Madame Fiocca weaves an extraordinary tale of survival and redemption in wartime.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your time.


Nancy

There were three things I longed to do with my life. I wished to visit New York, London, and Paris. Well, I went to New York, and I loved it. I went to London and was uncertain at first, but I grew to love the city. Later, I travelled to Paris on a long weekend, and fell in love with the City of Light. Paris became the base from which I worked as a reporter for the Hearst Newspaper Group. Nancy Wake, a New Zealander who grew up in Australia, reporting the latest world news from France. To me, it was an exciting new life and a welcome change from the one I’d escaped.

1930s Paris was a city for women, both beautiful and chic. The ladies wore gorgeous dresses, all the latest designs, along with gloves and hats too. Theirs was a fashion set apart from the rest of the world. The city of romance overflowed with gallant men, champagne, fine dining, and flowers. What girl could ask for more? And my dates always picked me up and took me home.

I was a flirt, and I loved good-looking men. In truth, I was a dizzy young thing, but I never went searching for love. Love seized me quite unexpectedly at a time when everything was changing, soon after Hitler swept into power in 1933, unleashing his Nazi ideology onto Europe. So much political unrest, so much evil and inhumanity, and then the Spanish Civil War, the prelude to another world war. Not everyone saw it that way, but I did.

Then came the fateful day in 1940, when the German army marched into Paris, shrouding France with swastika flags, an enemy the sight of which reduced Parisians to tears, France defeated. And the flame of Resistance ignited, slowly at first, and then gradually gathered momentum as more and more of us answered the call from General de Gaulle. It was the chance I’d longed for, to do something about the evil unleashed by Hitler and his Nazi Party, and I played my part. The French called me, ‘L’Australienne de Marseille’, the girl who always laughed, and my war was filled with much laughter.

I’ve often been asked whether I’d have done anything differently. And always, after deep thought, I reply, ‘If I had my time again, I’d do it all over, despite everything.’ I live with the consequences, bear the guilt and the grief. Ghosts of my past fill the silence, their presence a faint kiss of breeze, their voices a whisper of memories; memories that live on until I breathe my last.

Marseille
August 1944

The wolves have fled. The ground grumbles beneath my boots; tremors snake up my legs to my hips and tingles ricochet along my spine. In the distance, a low growl grows into a roaring convoy of military trucks, the Allies, a sound as sweet and welcome as bird song on any other day, but not this day. Marseille is free at last. How I longed to share this day with you, Henri, my love. Our home, our perfect home. I bite my lower lip, blink away tears. The concierge, Monsieur Dufort, looked so shocked when I turned up earlier today. And, quite out of character, he embraced me, his thread-veined cheeks wet with tears. I didn’t mind. We were all out of character.

‘Madame Fiocca. I can hardly believe it is you,’ he said, wiping his eyes. ‘We all thought you were dead!’

I wasn’t surprised, and I forced a smile. ‘So many are dead or missing.’ What I so desperately wished to say was that I’m dead inside, but instead I gritted my teeth, and said, ‘I’m so glad to see you.’

‘The Gestapo gave your apartment to female German officers,’ he said, holding up his hands. ‘There was nothing I could do.’

Well, that explains everything. The Boche did a great number on the place. Broken ornaments and rubbish laid strewn across the floors amidst overturned furniture. They took most of our possessions except for your armchair which lay on its side by the fireplace. As I dragged it upright, I pictured you sat there, nursing a crystal glass of brandy. You ran a hand through your black wavy hair, ruffling it so as you relaxed after a day’s work. Madame Dumont was in the kitchen preparing dinner, and the delicious scent of saffron drifted out into the dining room. I closed my eyes and felt the warmth of your hand on mine, drawing me close. Oh, the sweet, delicate taste of liquor on your lips, your breath warm in my mouth, the velvet caress of your hand on my cheek. And as I opened my eyes to stark emptiness, tightness gripped my chest and I couldn’t think anymore.


Suzy Henderson lives with her husband and two sons in Cumbria, England, on the edge of the Lake District. In a previous life she was a Midwife but now works from home as a freelance writer and novelist.

While researching her family history, Suzy became fascinated with both World War periods and developed an obsession with military and aviation history. Following the completion of an Open University Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, she began to write and write until one day she had a novel.

She writes contemporary and historical fiction and is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Suzy’s debut novel, “The Beauty Shop”, has been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Her next novel, “Madame Fiocca” will be published in December 2019.

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