Book Reviews

Winter Duet (Echoes Rising 2) by Anne Barwell at LaceDragon Publishing

Genre Gay / Historical / 20th Century / Warriors/Soldiers / Romance / Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 17-February-2021

Book Blurb

Who do you trust when no one is who they seem?

Germany 1944

Fleeing German physicist Dr Kristopher Lehrer and his lover, Resistance fighter Michel, are caught up in an Allied bombing campaign. Separated from Michel after discovering an injured RAF pilot in the Black Forest, and pursued by the SS for the information he carries, Kristopher is frantic to reunite, unaware that Michel has been recruited by the Allies for a rescue mission.

Time is running out. The Gestapo is closing in. How can they decide who to trust, when the dagger pointed at Kristopher’s back could be wielded by a friend?

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2014.

Second edition published by DSP Publications, December 2016. This story has been re-edited, and uses UK spelling to reflect its setting.

Book Review

The sequel to ‘Shadowboxing’, set in wartime Nazi Germany in 1944, is just as suspenseful, thought-provoking, and often heartbreaking as the first book in the series (which should be read before this volume). It is a tale of love and betrayal, survival and revenge, and contains more than one test of personal loyalty and friendship. Other than the main characters, Kit and Michel, the whole group of secondary characters is back as well. Between the main story and all the various subplots, this novel brings to life a time that I only know from history books, stories told by my parents, and fiction. Somehow Anne Barwell’s world building made it feel as real to me as the present.

Kit and Michel are on the run, trying to make it to safety so that Kit’s knowledge of the destructive weapon the Nazis were developing can no longer be used by them – because Kit is the only one with all the information. Traveling from Berlin to Switzerland without getting detected by the Nazi authorities is problematic enough, but they can’t even relax when staying in the safe houses that offer shelter along the way. They find it more and more difficult to hide their feelings for each other – but no matter how much the Resistance wants to help, they can’t risk exposing their love for fear of the people who are supposed to shelter them turning against them.

But then it gets worse. The increased number and intensity of Allied bombings puts them in danger, they end up trying to save several people’s lives, and the Gestapo is about to close in. But the real test comes when they are separated. With no way to communicate, each man has to fight for himself and the others they encounter, hoping that their agreed “code” will eventually allow them to be reunited.

The second group this novel follows almost as closely as Kit and Michel are Resistance fighters Matt, Ken, and Liang – who are trying to get to safety. Matt and Ken have become a couple, but they also have to hide, even from their teammate. Between the two groups parts of which end up meeting and working together, some of the other characters (like Kit’s sister, Clara) whose story continues somewhat in the background, and the ever-threatening capture of everyone I was rooting for, I was glued to the pages.

Just like at the end of ‘Shadowboxing’, the story of Kit and Michel is not over at the end of ‘Winter Duet’. The temporary respite only allows everyone –including me - to take a deep breath, recharge their energy, and develop more plans. Nobody is safe yet, and all I can do is wait for the next book with bated breath.

If you want to get into World War Two history and experience events as if you were there, if you like Kit and Michel and all their friends and want to find out what they’re up to, and if you’re looking for a read that is nail-bitingly suspenseful, full of human emotions in the midst of wartime Nazi Germany, and will keep you on the edge of your seat, then you will probably like this novel.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 274 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-February-2021
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link