How Angels Die (Harding)

How Angels Die 
David-Michael Harding, 2011
Q&CY Books
420 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780615503325

In the darkest days of World War II, when France found itself at the mercy of a brutal dictator, the frontlines of resistance may just have been in the grasp of a few good women.

How Angels Die, the epic work of historical fiction by author David-Michael Harding, delivers a highly inventive and uncommon take on the French Resistance that is certain to appeal to anyone who relishes a blood-pumping drama, which also sheds searing new light on the astounding bravery, profound passion, and razor-sharp cunning of the fairer sex during the most trying times.

In four fateful days, two remarkable sisters, Monique and Claire McCleash, battle the German occupation of their coastal French town in the early days of June 1944. While their mission is the same, their methods of upending the occupation are irreconcilably at odds. The strikingly beautiful Monique puts her body and wit to work for the Resistance by dating and sleeping with German officers; her younger sister Claire elects instead to serve as an active combat guerilla fighter for the cause.

Brimming with high drama that is punctuated by family humor, How Angels Die lifts the veil on a lesser-known side of the French Resistance. Through the prism of two intrepid women, the novel illuminates how these women employ their formidable assets and fierce love of country to face down a vicious enemy.

With page-turning action, unstoppable passion, and historical accuracy, this heart-racing novel is a must-read for sisters, history buffs, and action enthusiasts alike. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—January 4, 1958
Where—Waverly, New York, USA
Education—M.A., Elmira College
Currently—lives in Tampa, Florida

David-Michael Harding is a life-long writer whose work has appeared in national publications and has been recognized by the international writing community. He is a collegiate writing instructor and former semi-professional football player. His experiences provide readers with well researched, crushing fast-paced action. Most of his days are spent writing from the cockpit of his sailboat, Pegasus, somewhere off the Nature Coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. (From the publisher.)

Visit the author's website.
Follow David-Michael on Facebook.

Book Reviews
In How Angels Die. Harding delivers an edge of the seat read as he skillfully summarizes the events and pain of years of conflict during the Nazi occupation of France into ninety-six gut wrenching, mesmerizing hours.
David Roth, Tampa Writing Examiner

A brilliantly written account of life in France during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Characters are believable and sympathetic—each caught in abnormal everyday living in the time of war. The plot spares the reader none of the horrors of the years of the French Resistance. The story's ending is powerful and unforgettable as the reader learns of the bravery of people now long forgotten.
Readers Favorite

Tells the story of two sisters who dared stand against Hitler's regime in World War II, taking their own paths to thwart the German occupation in June of 1944. Even as they work towards the same goals, they find themselves at odds in many ways, as David Harding writes a story of intrigue through war, politics, and family. How Angels Die is a riveting tale that should prove hard to put down.
Midwest Book Review

Terrific book and historical fiction at its best! Set in France during WWII, we learn of life during the Nazi occupation. I loved the characters and we became fast friends. I laughed with them and I cried with them. Mostly I cheered them on in their courageous work in the French Resistance. It was a page turner with plenty of action and drama. Ending is very satisfying. You won't be disappointed.
Reading Room

This book is incredible! The main story revolves around two sisters and how they both work for two very different sides of the resistance. I found this book very easy to read and hard to put down. David Michael Harding has a unique way of storytelling that read very much like a movie. I would highly recommend reading this book.
Life Improvement Radio

Not just another WWII story; it's about how individuals & united groups give all they are to a common cause out of pure love. It’s not a fantasy tale or contrived story; it's a well-research realistic viewpoint celebrating cost of ensuring evil won’t prevail in history's unfortunately too frequent travesties of justice & fair treatment! Awesome, amazing, & deserving of best-seller status!
The Best Reviews

Discussion Questions
1.  Consider Monique and Claire as characters—what are their personality traits, motivations, inner qualities, external qualities/talents? Why do they do what they do? Are their actions justified?  Now change whose definition of 'justified’ you are using. Try theirs. Their parents. Yours. Do you admire or disapprove of the sisters’ tactics for the Resistance? Why?

 2.  Explore & describe the dynamics between the sisters. Between each sister and the other Resistance fighters.  Between each sister and their parents.

3.  How do Monique and Claire change throughout the novel? Where does the change happen and what drives it?

4.  You are Estelle’s neighbor. What advice would you have shared with her over tea and stitching uniforms to help her with her relationship with Claire? Given Estelle’s clandestine role, what could she have done to bolster her relationship with Claire?

5.  Consider the novel’s plotlines and structure. Are the relationships, events, and circumstances that tie Paul & Valerie to the primary story line plausible?  Consistent?  Engaging? How do you feel about Paul and what would you have said or done to help him?

6.  Are there particular lines of dialogue or passages that encapsulate a character for you? Is it a subtle or foreshadowing effect, or an "in your face" point?

7.  Could you relate to the sisters’ snipping/biting dialogue they reserved only for each other? Why does Claire come to mask her love for her sister?

8.  What is the significance of Sean’s pipes?

9.  Comment on Estelle’s line below from the big blow out at the McCleash house following Claire’s raid. (Hard copy page 217). “Which stays on your soul?  Which stains the hands of our daughters more, the killing or the sex?” Does this reflect the main theme of the story? Is it the sin, the contrition, or the redemption that makes a story—makes a life?

10. Did you suspect Monique's big secret?

11.  Describe the reading experience. Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? Did the characters and story stay with you after the reading?

12.  If you could ask the author a question, what would it be? Have you read other books by the same author? If so how does this book compare. If not, does this book inspire you to read others?

13.  Have you learned anything in the reading of How Angels Die? Historically or more personal?

14.  Movie time: who would you like to see play what part?
(Questions courtesy of author and publisher.)

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