“McAuley’s wartime novel has an almost cinematic quality that transports readers into the heart of Paris in the months leading up to D-Day and the Allies’ invasion. It is an intriguing and action-packed tale that conveys a sense of what daily life had become for the people of France under German occupation. …It is at once a thrilling spy story, a dramatic coming-of-age tale and a story that is as much about love and friendship as it is about the hardships of war.”
"An American teenager becomes an Allied spy for the French Resistance during World War II in this briskly paced historical novel. ...At the end of every cliffhanging chapter, intrepid Adele finds herself in a different do-or-die situation, whether it’s unobtrusively trying to carry her bicycle through rough water under an enemy-occupied bridge or leading a German soldier to certain death in the labyrinthine Paris sewers."
*well-realized setting and fascinating espionage details*
"McAuley does a fine job of weaving historical events into the story of a young woman coming of age in a most dramatic fashion. Spying, having run-ins with German soldiers, watching people die—there is something on almost every page to make readers catch their breaths. Along with the action, there are plenty of humanizing moments as Adele makes friends and loses them and finds small moments that keep her going."
"Who to trust, who to respect, who to emulate, and who to fall in love with are all part of Betty/Adele’s coming of age in the deftly sketched context of the German occupation. Worthy of consideration for school reading lists, Violins of Autumn (the radio code phrase that indicates the Allied invasion is nigh) is a memorable, vicarious experience of a notable chapter in twentieth-century history and will appeal to WWII and spy fiction buffs alike."
"With its evocatively realistic language and determined heroine, Violins of Autumn drew me in immediately and kept me in its thrall until the very last page. Amy McAuley does a terrific job of blending the simple, happy details of everyday life with the harsh realities and heart-pounding dangers of wartime, creating a nuanced and multi-layered portrait of occupied France during World War II that felt so real that it was hard to remember that I wasn't in France myself! ...Violins of Autumn is a novel I won't be forgetting anytime soon."
"Sent from Britain into Nazi-occupied France as a spy to help the Resistance, spunky seventeen-year-old Adele delivers messages, participates in sabotage, finds romance, identifies a double agent, survives imprisonment by the Gestapo, and cements a lifelong friendship. McAuley's novel is accessible, fast paced, and filled with derring-do..."