Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw

avenue-of-spiesFrom the Back Cover:

On the leafy Avenue Foch, one of Paris’s most exclusive streets, American doctor Sumner Jackson, his wife, Toquette, and their son Phillip, watched from their apartment at number 11 as the Nazis occupied their block. With the city crawling with spies and murderers, and Jewish residents rounded up and herded onto trains, the family made a fateful decision—to stay and join the resistance, operating from Sumner’s perch at the American Hospital and from their very apartment, where just a few houses away open widows vented the cries of fellow resistance fighters being tortured by the Gestapo.

IN Avenue of Spies, Alex Kershaw unfolds the thrilling, shattering story of an impossibly brave family, one whose game of cat and mouse with evil would ultimately send them on a journey into the black heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.

My Thoughts

This definitely didn’t disappoint. No matter how awful a story is, it can hold together by means of endearing characters. The Sumner family, at the middle of the narrative, were clearly a tight knit family who loved each other, and if it weren’t for that the story would have been a hard one to read. Nothing would have worked as it did if they had not stuck together. I loved how Phillip and Dr. Sumner determined to stay so close to each other despite all they faced and went through. One of my favorite parts was the story of how Jackson and Tocquette met, and how they came to remain in Paris into the middle of the conflict, and how Jackson became embroiled in the Resistance through the American Hospital was fascinating.

A good deal of the story is told from Phillip’s perspective, due to the lack of recollections from Jackson, but it definitely came to life through his eyes.

Knowing from the beginning that eventually they were betrayed and caught added an element of suspense, and I read probably half the book on the edge of my seat, wondering how and when it would happen.


I often found the details of the nightlife of German soldiers in Paris unnecessary as they were unrelated to the plot, and aside from descriptions of the torture and brutality that people underwent just a few houses over from the Sumners and elsewhere, there are only two or three instances of language.

Overall, it made for a fascinating read, and another good addition to my stock of WWII reads.

I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books.


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