Home » Historical Fiction » Book Review | The Light We Left Behind by Tessa Harris

Book Review | The Light We Left Behind by Tessa Harris

We’re delighted to be sharing Elena’s thoughts about The Light We Left Behind by Tessa Harris.

Jera’s Jamboree receives payments for affiliate advertising. This is at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As a Cratejoy affiliate I earn if you click on a link and shop from my link. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Book cover for The Light We Left Behind by Tessa Harris.  A stately home is in the background of the bottom of the cover while a white young woman dressed in orange on a telphone is partially seen for three quarters of the cover
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09JRHCZZS
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ HQ Digital (3 Dec. 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English

England: 1944

When psychologist Maddie Gresham is sent a mysterious message telling her to report to Trent Park mansion, she wonders how she will be helping the war effort from a stately home.
Having signed the official secrets act, she soon finds captured Nazi generals are being detained at the house. Bugged with listening devices in every room, it’s up to Maddie to gain the Nazis’ trust and coax them into giving up information.
When Max Weitzler, a Jewish refugee, also arrives at Trent Park with the same mission, Maddie finds herself trapped in a dangerous game of chess.

The two met in Germany before the war, and Maddie’s heart was his from the moment they locked eyes. The hope that Max had escaped the Nazi threat was her guiding light in the darkness of war.

But Maddie has finally gained the trust of the Nazi officers at the house, and her love for Max must remain a secret.

As Hitler’s bombs destroy more and more English towns, it is up to Maddie to make one of the captured officers talk – at any cost.

But when there’s a shocking death at the mansion, Maddie realises that not everyone at Trent Park is on the same side.
When the walls have ears, who can you trust?

Based on the true events that took place at Trent Park during WWII, this is an emotionally gripping, and heart-breaking novel about love, sacrifice, and betrayal, perfect for fans of The Rose Code and The Lost Girls of Paris.

Book Review

Before WW2 breaks out Maddie is in Germany as a student where she meets and falls in love with German Jew Max. After they protest in their own little way at  the rising ill-treatment of Jews by the increasingly powerful Nazi regime, she is sent back to England leaving her close friend behind. Max is a ‘mischling’ – half German and half Jewish and is cruelly disowned along with his mother by his Jew-hating, ambitious and bullying father. This leads him to join the Resistance in France. 

War has begun and Maddie has been sent to work at Trent Park as a psychologist after the brilliant doctor she was working for dies. She soon learns that it is a sort of prison for captured Nazi officers and has signed the Official Secrets Act, her role being to get as much information from the captured prisoners as possible. She relishes the work but is desperate to know whether Max is ok. She hasn’t stopped loving him so when he turns up at Trent Park to help them her world is completely turned upside down.

This is a wonderful read about a period in time I find utterly fascinating. I didn’t know Trent Park even existed so loved that I learned something completely new.

Maddie is a fabulous character full of spirit, ambition and independence which is refreshing for the time and I couldn’t help admiring her. As always I am left shocked by the treatment of Jews and the mindset of Nazis. What on earth compelled them to behave with such evil? Maddie tries to find out.

I loved the differing points of view from both the lead characters and their relationship is addictive and dangerous because of the external influences they are facing.

The Light We Left Behind is a wonderfully immersive and enjoyable historical fiction book which has been well researched and brilliantly written with so much detail and drama, love and hope.

TESSA HARRIS read History at Oxford University and has been a journalist, writing for several national newspapers and magazines for more than thirty years. She is the author of nine published historical novels. Her debut, The Anatomist’s Apprentice, won the Romantic Times First Best Mystery Award 2012 in the US. She lectures in creative writing at Hawkwood College, Stroud and is married with two children. She lives in the Cotswolds.

Facebook: Tessa Harris Author

2 thoughts on “Book Review | The Light We Left Behind by Tessa Harris”

  1. Thank you for posting this great review of my work. I wondered if you’d be interested in taking a look at my new book. It’s called The Paris Notebook and it’s out on February 15 on Kindle and in July in paperback in the US.
    Based on the true story of Hitler’s psychiatrist, it’s set in Hamburg and Paris and is both a romance and a thriller, which I’m hoping will appeal to you. It’s on NetGalley now, or I can arrange to have a copy sent.
    It would be most appreciated if you can find time in the next few weeks to review it.
    Warm wishes
    Tessa Harris

Leave a comment