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Violins of Autumn

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  833 ratings  ·  140 reviews
When the Germans begin bombing London in World War II, Betty is determined to do her part. Instead of running air raid drills like most girls her age, she lies about her age and trains to become a spy. Now known by her secret agent persona, Adele Blanchard, she finds herself parachuting over German-occupied France under the cover of darkness to join the secret Resistance m ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Walker Childrens
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BookmarkedOne Definitely YA. There's some PG-13 language, mild romantic themes, your usual WWII violence, and it's marked as young adult by the publisher. Most of i…moreDefinitely YA. There's some PG-13 language, mild romantic themes, your usual WWII violence, and it's marked as young adult by the publisher. Most of it is pretty mild for a teen audience, but there are a few things that make it inappropriate for middle-grade readers. Hope that helps!(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  833 ratings  ·  140 reviews

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Clare Cannon
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
It was interesting to read this alongside Code Name Verity. Both stories recount the life of a courageous female Allied spy in France during WWII, but if one were to compare them Verity is a brutal, worst-case-scenario account of the spy's interrogation and collapse, while Violins is a heroic story seen through teen-romance tinted glasses.

Undoubtedly some research has nourished the plot: we learn about part of the Resistance movement in France, the conditions of civilians and spies in Paris, and
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fantastic. The main character is capable, likable, brave, and doesn't get caught up in romance. The supporting cast is great, the story is exciting, and the history feels well-researched. I sort of wish I'd read this right with Women Heroes of World War II, and I'd certainly recommend it as a companion either before or after reading this one. ...more
Ashley Perham
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
SECOND TIME: I love it even more!!! I think it may be my favorite book! The friendship was so delicious!!! (The love triangle was still awkward, but I understood Adele's decisions even though they were wrong and immature) And the whole spy thing!! And then Robby!!! Do I want a sequel? Ummm idk cuz what if bad stuff happens!!!!! Anyway, read this. Please.

Um wow!!!! This was...amazing, thought-provoking, and deliciously educational! I learned so much about the SOE and being a spy in Paris during W
Nov 18, 2011 marked it as to-read
SOE teenage spy. What could be better?
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A young spy is captured in Nazi-occupied France and interrogated about her mission. No, this isn't CODE NAME VERITY. It's VIOLINS OF AUTUMN, and the book may begin with a flash forward to Adele's interrogation, but her story begins a little over a month before in May 1944.

The Allies are poised to invade France at any moment. Meanwhile, their spies must arm and train the French Resistance in preparation for D-Day. Plain, unassuming Betty, now known as Adele Blanchard, is a courier. Trustworthy an
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I don't have too terribly much to say about it, but it was heartwarming and powerful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. World War II has always been a time period that's fascinated me (Molly of the American Girl series, anyone?), so I just had a feeling going in that I would like this book. And I wasn't disappointed. :)

(view spoiler)
Chelsey Wolford
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Adele Blanchard is a secret agent or spy for an organization known as Special Operations Executive which was aligned with the resistance against Nazi occupied France. The book starts off in a plane flying high above the streets of France where Adele and her partner, Denise Langford, are about to parachute out in order to begin their assignments for the resistance. This book drops the reader right in the middle of the action. One reason why I loved it so much was because from page one until page ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*This is a Goodreads First Reads Book that I won. Thank you!*

I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book. A 16 yr old American girl who's been living with her aunt and uncle in London lies about her age in order to train and then work as a British spy in France during World War II.

Despite the significant time gap between reader and character, Adele (the 16 yr old main character) is fairly easy to identify with. What teenager doesn't go through the "Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going?" phas
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
"There were ringing telephones, playing radios, children running past open windows. A dog barked or a neighbor's car pulled up to the curb. Ordinary everyday connections I took for granted my whole life - I can't put into words how much I crave them now."

What can I say about this book? It was so beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes, knowing this book would be almost realistic enough. Who knows? In this story we see the heroine (yes, heroine. I don't want to use protagonist as she des
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of those amazing discoveries when browsing in the library, this book is staged in World War 2 in France with a special young lady working in espionage with the Resistance. The author expertly leads you through the intricate story-line, and the characters are so exquisitely constructed that they seem more real than you and I. The characters experience real dangers, real emotions, and real thoughts and dialogues... it's too perfect to be fictional. One of the best books I have read in a long t ...more
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
3.5 stars

- I enjoyed the writing style, and I think the first person/present tense POV was very effective for this story.
- ROBBIE. <3 He is so young and boyish and sweet. Truthfully, he is one of the main reasons why this story interested me in the first place. 😉 (view spoiler)

- The language. It wasn't terrible or on every page, but it was fairly frequent and added absolutely no
In the spring of 1944 France has been besieged by Nazis and the people are suffering. Everyone is waiting for D-Day to arrive and everyone needs to do their bit to help the Allies. Betty Sweeney, alias Adele Blanchard is about to do her bit. American born, European educated and British raised, she's ready for any adventure but her adventure is about to become frighteningly real as she prepares to enter enemy territory as a spy for the Special Operations Executive. She must become Adele completel ...more
Alexandria Brim
In 1944, a seventeen-years-old American girl living with her relatives in London named Betty becomes Adele Blanchard and parachutes into Nazi-held France. Part of the British operation helping the French Resistance, she is to become a courrier in Paris while her friend Denise is to become a radio operator. They are first taken in by a welcoming French woman and her less-welcoming son, Pierre. For reasons unknown to Adele, she feels the need to prove herself to Pierre and volunteers to spy on a n ...more
3.5 stars.

Where Code Name Verity is grit and pain; hard choices and mistakes; unbreakable friendship and bravery, Violins of Autumn is a WWII adventure, essentially. Lighter and comparatively "fluffier", for a WWII story. It still holds many of the same ideas and aspects, though written in different lights.

For me, Adele was a bit of a hard character to connect with. It was odd, I liked her well enough, but she didn't draw me into her story like I wish she would have. Perhaps it didn't help that
Allison (The Allure of Books)
Y’all, I picked up Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley despite hearing little to no buzz about its release. I love historical YA, and seeing the magic word spy got my reader senses all a-tingle. The WWII backdrop definitely came to life and I found myself very much enjoying most aspects of this story.

Our intrepid heroine, Betty (code name: Adele), isn’t satisfied sitting on the sidelines. She lies about her age so she can train to become a spy. Along the way she makes an unlikely best friend, falls
Bakshree Mishra
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
just love the cover...

Read the complete review here:


Loved the book too.

I can't say why, exactly, I fell in love with this book. I have read many accounts of the Nazi invasion - both fictional and non fictional. I can't even say this book really stood out from among them - that honour remains with 'The Diary of Anne Frank'. But the glimpse this book offered into young people drafted and expected to serve as spies... was laudable and very convincing.
Lauren - SERIESous Books
I randomly picked up this book from the library after seeing the cover. The plot summary grabbed my attention (I had recently started watching the TV series 'Bomb Girls' and really enjoyed it) so I decided to take it.

I'm glad I did! I really enjoyed it and appreciated it. It's obvious that the author has done her research and the atmosphere she creates is amazing. So if you enjoy WWII young adult novels/settings then I recommend this.

The book started a little slow for me but it really picked up.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
After reading Code Name Verity (which was intense! and amazing!), I was so excited to read this one, another book about girls and their role in WWII, and it did not disappoint. I honestly didn't want to finish it because it was that good: it literally makes me so happy!!

The book starts with Betty's interrogation, and then goes back to the start, where she, as Adele, parachutes into France with Denise. Throughout the book, we follow her on her adventures through France, leaving messages and suppl
Kris Irvin
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'd give this a 2.5 star rating. I feel bad for doing that, because it's clear the author worked really hard on the research for this novel. but...

The characters didn't interest me at all. I didn't get the "best friend" vibe from the two girls in the slightest until about 3/4ths through the book - up till then it was like barely concealed but civil dislike for each other. So weird.

All the tiny characters kept cycling back but they were so insignificant that I would forget their names and then b
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one the best stories on the second World War that is more light hearted than others. Some of the world war books are very depression and graphic but this was only slightly so. This is an amzing book to read, especially in Autumn and I feel it really captures the emotions of the world war and of France.

This is set in France, both in the country side and Paris. The characters mostly speak French which is translated, but there are French phrases scattered in there which I love. The whole am
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
May I first say that I really loved this book? It felt authentic, and I could really imagine myself right there with Adele throughout the whole thing. Set in Paris, right before D-Day, Adele, and American spy for the Allies, has to courier messages, be a lookout for her friend and partner Denise, smuggle important itimes, and sabotage anything and everything that could help the German effort once D-Day has arrived.

My one problem with it was the romance part. The author portrayed Robbie, a downed
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Guys. It's on my favorites shelf. This is intense.
Sooooooooo gooooooooooood! I'm freakin' out!
Okay. Breath. The awesome things about this book:
- awesome heroine who be awesome!
- fantastic sidekick / best friend who be fantastic!
- lovable love interest who be lovable!
- "last line zingers" be zingery!
- WWII era with AMAZING historical details
- incredible characterization and development
- fantastic beginning and end
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Caution spoilers below. Proceed at
This book had so much potential! It's a rarely tapped topic in fiction: British agents in occupied France during WW2. But this book fell flat for me. I had a hard time figuring out who Betty was; she's written one way but acts another. I also found it difficult to pinpoint the plot; there was never a clearly defined goal for Betty and her friends. There was also a lot of expository dialogue about historical facts. Not only did it feel forced, but so did Betty's reactions. However, I absolutely s ...more
Every aspect of this book was amazing! The main character wasn't some stereotype of a woman, and it was so realistic! I found that I could relate to the character, and made me feel as if I could do anything I set my mind too! I really needed that. The book was easy to understand, and helped me understand more of the world war and how it must have been like. I love history, and this book certainly will not fail to impress you. I also love romance, and I don't think that was overdone, it was a per ...more
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can never get enough stories about girls and women set during WWII, and I absolutely loved this one from start to finish. Even the inclusion of a love triangle didn't bother me since it's not at all the focus of the story, and Adele's female friendships are given just as much (if not more) attention. Adele herself is smart and spunky and totally likable. If you like Code Name Verity or Agent Carter, you'll probably like this. ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I received "Violins of Autumn" by Amy McAuley as a free book from Goodreads First reads. What a wonderful gift! Not only is the book beautiful, so is the story. I've read a lot about WWII, and D-Day, but "Violins of Autumn" brings to light the role of women as spies sent to join the underground Resistance movement in preparing for D-Day. A great tribute to the women and men who gave all! ...more
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! It was a great story, and was obviously well researched. I honestly could not put it down! And it's rare when I finish a book in less than a day. I got so attached to each character, and I loved every second of it. I really just wish I know what happens next with Robbie and Adele. But other than that, this is probably on my top 5 favorite books. ...more
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely enjoyed Violins of Autumn! I'm so glad I picked it up at the library. at first I was a little apprehensive about reading it but I'm glad I powered through. It's not often I read non-contemporary YA but I think I should look more into it. :) the characters are awesome and the plot was fast paced! I had trouble putting it down. ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My favorite book of all time. A courageous young woman becomes a spy for the SOE in order to bring Liberation to Paris in WWII. She falls in love, gets captured, develops lifelong friendships. This book will not have a boring moment. Great detail. I adore this book.
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The Young Adult H...: Violins of Autumn, by Amy McAuley - May's Read 2 11 May 18, 2014 10:41AM  

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Amy McAuley grew up in Kincardine, Ontario, a small town on the shores of Lake Huron, where she read voraciously and dreamed of one day becoming an author like her idol, Judy Blume. She is the author of the historical YA, VIOLINS OF AUTUMN, published by Walker & Co, and OVER AND OVER YOU.

She now lives in London, Ontario, with her family and two cats.

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“Five sisters. That must have been hell."
"Only when they forced me to dress up like a girl and play Amy whenever they reenacted Little Women"
Giggling as quietly as possible, I say, "You had to play Amy? Why didn't they let you be Laurie?"
"My sister Beth insisted on playing Laurie. Figure that one out. One of the March sisters had her very own name, but no sir, she had to be a boy. I had to pretend, dressed as a girl, to marry my own sister dressed as boy." His laugh is good-natured. "I believe the word thats coming to your mind is disturbing.”
“Denise, the Nazi soldiers in those trucks do not suspect they're about to be outfoxed by two girls." In the stillness before we spring back itno action, Denise looks to me, grinning like mad. She quotes a line from King Kong, one of my favorite movies I watched with Tom.
"'Oh no. It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”
More quotes…