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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Behind the Clouds by Jan Selbourne opens with a couple of detailed and sensuous love-making scenes between three different couples. These well-done scenes are an unexpected, but naturally engaging beginning to a very intricate plot that thrusts five of the six people in those scenes into the bloody madness of WW1. Events unfold rapidly as German soldiers pursue Adrian and Gaby, the estranged couple at the center of the story, for murder. To tell you how this couple who have two children, but cannot tolerate each other's presence, suddenly find themselves depending on each other for survival and nearly die in the process would be to spoil your enjoyment of this marvellous story. But I will tell you that Behind the Clouds does everything a good novel should: it keeps you engaged page after page; the characters are as real as it gets; events are realistic; unexpected twists abound; the battle of good against evil is constant; the ravages of war are perfectly and sadly captured; and the ending draws to a most satisfying and credible close that will have romantic fiction devotees smiling.
If all books in the romance genre were as brilliant as Behind the Clouds, I'd become a huge fan of this type of novel. Romance is usually at the bottom of my list of choices, along with historical fiction. So I am doubly in awe that Behind the Clouds kept me up reading until 4:30 am this morning, and I couldn't wait to get back to finish it today. Jan Selbourne is a marvellous writer. What was particularly enjoyable was how the two main characters learned more about themselves in the four years of the war than they had in eight years of marriage. Gaby and Adrian are members of the upper class, used to having money and servants to look after their every need. As they run for their lives, hiding in cellars, sleeping under carts, watching innocent people being killed because of them, and living in fear of themselves being shot at any moment, they must face the truth about who they really are. What they learn is life-changing. This is such excellent writing by Jan Selbourne.
The publishers of Behind the Clouds write on their website that the books they seek are by "authors who take something ordinary and make it extraordinary ... stories with well-developed, multi-dimensional characters with back-stories, a high degree of emotional impact, with strong sexual tension between the heroine and hero, and stories that contain strong internal conflict." Well, they certainly got all of that and then some in Behind the Clouds by Jan Selbourne. This book deserves to be a best seller. Don't hesitate to pick it up. And good luck trying to put it down. I certainly couldn't!