Jan's first novel, The Seven Letters, touched on the harrowing and savage events of the Liberation of Paris in 1944. It sold quickly and rapidly gained a hundred five star reviews. It is now followed by a second book once again based in The Cotswolds, England and Paris.
The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick is another dual time novel linking modern day to 1945 as WW2 draws to a close.
Described by top blogger, Anne Williams as; 'An emotional and beautifully told story of treachery and deceit,' the book was launched to over hundred people in Jan's home village where much of the story is set.
Th two books are linked by the theme of strong women and what they will do to survive in the face of adversity.
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The Seven Letters is absolutely fantastic. I was on holiday and I literally could not put I down to the point where we found a pub with Wi-Fi so I could selfishly read a few more pages whilst my husband had a pint! My breath was literally taken away and I just couldn't read it fast enough. It was a perfect read to escape from my world into another, I've also learned a lot too. It is heartbreaking how some people suffered so much to fight for freedom.
I can see it becoming a best seller and a film, it has everything there, plus so much soul, its definitely a roller coaster ride read. I read 'til 3am one morning and it was during a storm!
I highly recommend this amazing book.
by Annette Rainbow
I really enjoyed this novel and I couldn’t put it down towards the end as the pace really picks up.
It is full of tension, and the way to modern story links to wartime Paris is very clever.
I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a beautifully written mystery.
by Matt Henley
This book is brilliant! I couldn't put it down. I am looking forward to more from this exciting new author.
by judy hand
The Seven Letters is a gripping page turner, I was hooked from the beginning.
by Nicola Leyland
Set in the Cotswolds and Paris, ‘The Seven Letters’ is a fusion of life in war torn France and the consequences of how it effected people for the rest of their lives.
The story telling in the book is so gripping it draws the reader in and it becomes very easy to relate to the characters and feel the emotion of their situations.
It is a book you are desperate to finish to find out the answers, but at the same time wish it would go on forever.
I loved it.
by S. Logan
Thoroughly enjoying this magnificent novel. Part set in my home town in Oxfordshire and part in Paris, the pace and sense of anticipation is delicious!
by Amazon Customer
Amazing, heartbreaking story that gives insight into the lives of some women during WW2. The author did an amazing job connecting the lives of the characters across the decades. I loved this book!!
by Andrea Huffstetler
I love books that draw me in and make me feel like I am part of the book. This book did this and I felt like I was truly a character and not the reader of the book. I found myself crying (I didn't even realize it). I didn't want this book to end. I highly recommend this book. I will be following this author and be reading everything she writes.
by Anne Gooch
This book is utterly compelling and beautifully written.
by Ms. O Arathoon
With a flip back and forth between chapters, the story line moves forward quickly and the reader is drawn into the worlds being revealed. Alternating between the lives of Connie and Claudette, we are thrust into modern day England and WWII Paris. Each one is trying to make their lives, dealing with struggle, love, and mystery. The writing style is lovely and would make for an easy transition to film. The subject matter in the WWII chapters is hard to face, but historically accurate. It is hard to understand how women could have survived in those situations. It leaves the reader with a moral question, wondering if they would have done the same, or if they could have changed things.
I would recommend this book for people who enjoyed Sarah’s Key, The Nightingale, Finding Rebecca, or Paris Time Capsule. The historical side is taken quite seriously yet never turns into a lecture or speech. The mystery wasn’t solvable in the first few chapters as I feared. I was surprised that this was first novel, it was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading more from author, Jan Harvey. Thank yous to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing’s branch Matador for allowing me to read this one so close to publishing date.
by Michelle Meador
I found myself going back to read whole paragraphs again because the writing was so beautiful.
by Mrs. M McDougall
A spellbinding first novel
Beautifully written and well researched this novel tells the story of a young girl, Claudette Bourvil, recruited into the French Resistance and sent to Paris to spy on German Officers during WW2. Claudette's story is gradually revealed through the discovery of some letters found by Oxfordshire resident Connie Webber over 70 years later whilst helping to clear out the house of her great friend Freddy March. The chapters of the book alternate between Claudette's story and Connie's piecing together of Freddy's mysterious past and gradually we see how the two are interlinked. The descriptions of life in occupied Paris are exceptionally vivid and the characters with whom Claudette becomes involved and their impossible situation is utterly captivating. This is a gripping page-turner of a novel. A book you want to race through to find out the answers but at the same time do not want to finish and a story which stays with you long after the final page is read. I do hope that Jan Harvey has another novel in the pipeline as I for one cannot wait to read it.
by Liz Potter
Just spent the last 24 hours reading a fantastic book. It was like watching a film. I couldn’t put it down.The Seven Letters by Jan Harvey can’t recommend it enough.
by Jacqui Bassett
I just couldn’t put The Seven Letters down. The story is so beautifully and
cleverly conceived, with so many rich details. I simply loved it.
by N. Williamson
A wonderfully written novel as well as a beautiful tribute to the ones who sacrificed everything for the greater good. This book was outstanding
by K. Krinick, USA
“It is a book you are desperate to finish to find out the answers but, at the same time, wish it would go on forever.”
by Sally Logan
Wow! This novel perfectly combines all the ingredients of a historical story, interwoven with both thriller elements and romance. I couldn't put the book down and bought more for Christmas presents. I can't wait to read more from the author, Jan Harvey is definitely someone I will be following and fingers crossed it won't be long before another novel is published.
by Kerri Trounce
A story of two young women separated by a lifetime. An absorbing and well researched novel which gives one a glimpse into the shocking world of the French Resistance. The characters are beautifully drawn and it is a book one would wish to read many times to take in all the nuances. Excellent.
by Carole Lawless
Mystery, history, romance, espionage - I was absorbed and intrigued by The Seven Letters from start to finish. Jan Harvey is a master story teller. The story lines - in war-torn Paris, in the Cotswolds of today - move along at a cracking pace. You’re shocked in parts, deeply moved in others; this is a book that really engages your emotions. I felt bereft when I got to the last page.
by H. O'Brien
The Seven Letters. How do I sum it up? I loved every word of it and didn't want it to end. Having been a war time child I have always read a lot. There were no toys in my day so, at home with my mother, (my father was in the army) I could read before I was four! A book was my great comfort when my son died as I found I could loose myself, if only for a few moments. This was how I felt about The Letters, it had me absolutely hooked. I'd like to say thank you to Jan Harvey for writing such an interesting tome. I will be first in line for the next one!
by J. Hills
Wow, just wow! My feelings are all over the place. Review to follow after I get myself together.
Days later: I took quite awhile to think about this book, partially because I was sick, but mostly because I wanted to spend some time to rethink some of my preconceptions. I found this book extremely readable and beautifully written, but it opened my eyes to the importance of the French Resistance in France during WWII. I now want to read more about that portion of the war.
This book made me curious, which is very important. It made me want to know more about what I was reading, to dig deeper into a subject that I had spend very little time getting to know and that is a good thing!
The story itself is very well told and very readable. I will be re-reading this book. I have recommended it to numerous friends (including my husband). Thank you to NetGalley and Troubador Publishing for the opportunity to read this amazing book!
by Elizabeth Richards
The Seven Letters.
I loved the shift between modern day and the past, the twists and turns, and every character was someone I could believe in and was intrigued by. There's at least a couple more books in there - Mdme Odile and Keber sequels please!
I had just finished reading Edward Rutherford's 'Paris' when my Mum lent me her copy of The Seven Letters, it was a tough act to follow in terms of WWII Paris stories...but follow it, this book certainly did.
by A. Lawless-Hearn
Could not put it down. Kept me enthralled all night. A must read
by Evelyn Duran
WHAT impressive research Jan Harvey has achieved. I can now appreciate the little thought-of 'horizontal collaborators' and just how much the French Resistance gave up to provide information to amongst others, our own Bletchley Park ciphers. Thoroughly recommend a read folks - a truly unique slant to the 'All's quiet on the Western Front...' adage. Hope it get's put on screen!
by Clarissa Hunt
What a great book! As soon as I realised this story was about the French resistance during the Second World War my interest was immediately piqued and I wasn't let down at all. This rich and vibrant story captures the real Paris during this terrible time and showing what real people had to do to survive. The author has decribed and told this tale with the total conviction of a clearly, very well researched story teller. A real gem of a book, I couldn't put it down and I really hope there will be a follow up. A really great read!
by N. Smith
This book seems extremely well-researched and is so very real.
As I read this book I felt like I was inside it, I was very involved, and I really empathised with the characters.
It think it would make a superb film or TV series.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
by Sandy Markwell
So enjoyed this book and was totally engrossed reading it on the train I missed my stop!!
by Mrs. C. Trevors
Brilliant read. The Seven Letters would make an amazing film.
by Karen Lawrence
A brilliant debut novel
Set in the present day Cotswolds and Paris during World War II, this book provides an insight into another dimension of the war that I was not aware of. I have read many fictional accounts of the war but this was refreshing and insightful, playing out the tensions and dilemmas of the larger war in a house of ill repute on Rue Ercol, Paris, also bringing the plight of the French Resistance to the fore.
A page turner that leaves each chapter end on a cliff edge, the story draws you into the world of the main protagonist, Claudette, and how she sacrifices much to be part of the Resistance movement. It explores how she lives her truth amidst a world falling apart and where fraternising with the enemy is part of survival. It brings moral dilemmas under the spotlight as well as the horrors of human cruelty and judgement in a time of perpetual suffering and fear. It is a moving tribute to those who risked all to be part of the Resistance movement in France. The story also celebrates the power of the human spirit, where living amidst ongoing tragedy and pain, strength and resilience can prevail, even when all hope seems lost.
This is an incredibly atmospheric book with well developed characters that one becomes attached to. I enjoyed the format of the story, with each chapter alternating between the present day and Paris during the war. I could not put the book down and felt like I was there, immersed in the story and places. I was sorry to finish it and the story remains with me still after turning over the last page. A well written debut novel. I look forward to Jan Harvey's next novel.
by S. Layton-Matthewson
I am an avid reader and more often than not get maps out and google the areas and background depicted in a story line. So attending a book signing and hearing at first hand the research behind The Seven Letters made what had already been a brilliant read even more special. Once finding an author whose novels I enjoy I tend to work through all their works so I hope it won't be too long before there is another 'Jan Harvey'
by A. Shirley
Simply Amazing. Awesome!....You are captivated from the very first chapter!......Beautifully written, I couldn't put it down and read it over just a weekend. This is the first book I've read in a long time where I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter and wanted it to not end. Amazing first book Jan Harvey; I eagerly await your next one!!
by Amazon Customer
I read Jan Harvey's The Seven Letters twice -- and doubled my enjoyment. Old enough to remember a World War Two childhood with clarity, and having retired 16 years ago to a part of France, Northern Provence, where the Resistance was particularly active, the book resonated with me from beginning to end.
Take a bunch of sadistic Nazi bullies, a dozen French prostitutes, a fierce Madame, a young, innocent virgin from the countryside, a good dollop of romance (some of it steamy) throw in nasty wartime goings-on...give it all a good stir and you have a good story. Tell it well and end with a totally surprising mystery, as Jan Harvey did, and you get a fine book which deserves all the success a debut novelist dreams of. Can you better The Seven Letters, Jan Harvey? I'm waiting.
by Bill Larkworthy
The Seven Letters is amazing. A really compelling and thought provoking read - I could hardly put it down. It is such a polished read I’m surprised it’s a first novel. It is so cleverly well-written, researched and quite literary, but also a really good story with a fabulous cast of characters! I’m genuine when I say it’s the best thing I’ve read for a long time. It is the first time this year I have not been able to put something down yet was actually sad when I’d reached the end!
by R E Hodges
Awesome!....You are captivated from the very first chapter!.........Beautifully written, I couldn’t put it down and read it over just a weekend. This is the first book I’ve read in a long time where I couldn’t wait to get to the next chapter and wanted it to not end. Amazing first book Jan Harvey; I eagerly await your next one!!
by Amazon Customer Review
A fascinating story, a moving insight into the horizontal collaborators during the war in France. I could not put this book down and loved the way the story developed twisting and turning until it left you with lots of questions in your head. A brilliant read.
by AAmazon Reviewer, New York
I so enjoyed this book. Interesting plot, vivid characters that I really cared about and a lovely balance between the two time periods. Have recommended to many friends. Looking forward the next one.
by Customer Review Amazon
The Seven letters is a page-turner it reads very easily and I like the arrangement of short chapters. The management of the two stories in different times is very clever indeed.
by J Graham
The Seven Letters by Jan Harvey is a book with a double storyline, one set in Paris during the war and the other story set in modern times. The modern storyline uncovers the background of a famous playwright, which the storyline set during the war reveals. It is beautifully written and captivating from the opening lines. I felt the author used the duel storyline method really well and was able to keep you interested in both parts of the story throughout. You felt a connection with each of the characters in both eras and the mood and difficulties of the times were portrayed very well. The French Resistance aspects were well researched and very descriptive and it was refreshing to have the work of women in the French Resistance portrayed. Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable read, it kept me captivated throughout and will look forward to reading more from Jan Harvey.
by Jo Kirk
What an extremely enthralling book. The subject matter was not the run of the mill second world war story and covered an aspect that was unknown to me. I found the story very emotional and I felt that the way the author interwove the plot from present to past was inspired. I understand this is a first novel - can't wait for the next - what a very perceptive writer Jan Harvey is, well done and congratulations to her for tackling this subject matter.
by Hilary Jones
I borrowed ‘The Seven Letters’ to read while on holiday.
From beginning to end I was hooked,I didn’t want to put it down.
I needed to know more.
Thank you for a great read.
by E. Irons
I adore books with a dual time-frame – a modern story, a well researched historical one, with links between the two. The historical thread to this book was enthralling, a slice of hidden social history I’d never come across before, the story of the wartime “horizontal collaborators”. But it’s far more than just a slice of history well told – there’s a strong heroine at its centre in Claudette, working as a maid in a brothel to help the Resistance, a moving and engrossing love story and one of exceptional bravery.
Every character in this story is magnificently drawn, vividly described, their back stories richly detailed, and in many cases those background stories are emotional and harrowing. There are moments throughout this excellent book that will long remain with me, searing and stark images that are indelibly etched in my memory. The research is exceptional, the detail included but the narrative wears it lightly, and the writing has an ease and flow that makes it easy to become totally immersed in the story.
The modern story is equally strong – the shocking scene at its start, Connie’s sad history, her quest to discover playwright Freddy’s history, alongside a developing love story running far from smoothly. I liked the way the stories converged – and, although I’m not always a fan of stories told in alternating chapters, both stories were strong enough to support the structure and keep my attention and interest.
This was a book I really enjoyed, a page-turner with real originality, the strongest of story-telling, and a historical background that was just fascinating. A book I’d highly recommend.
by Anne Williams
As soon as I started reading The Seven Letters, I was hooked. The emotion in that very first page was raw and it was a real hard hitting introduction. I didn’t need to read much further to know that I really wanted to read the rest of the book.
Set between WWII Paris and modern day Cotswolds, The Seven Letters is a powerful story of love, war, bravery, survival and the effect actions taken during the war can have on future generations.
The emotion and, sometimes, stark images created by Jan Harvey’s descriptive story telling is most prominent through the historical chapters telling the story of Claudette Bourvil’s hard and courageous life. Recruited by the French Resistance, Claudette is sent to work undercover as a maid in a Bourdello (brothel) in Paris. She quickly realises that this is not the Gentleman’s Club the exterior conveys but it is, in fact, owned by the German Army, making the prostitutes and Madame Odile, working there, Horizontal Collaborators. Jan Harvey creates vivid and often harrowing images of how these women were treated by both the soldiers and the French citizens, some of which will stay with for me a long time.
The modern day story is just as powerful but eases on its intensity – which is probably just as well as I would have been a wreck by the end! From the very sad scene at the beginning of Connie Webber’s story, to the uncovering of Freddy’s family’s past, I was just as curious to find out how this part of the story panned out.
Jan Harvey has a way of writing with deep emotion and rich description whilst still allowing for the story to flow well and with ease. I really enjoyed this story and will definitely look out for future books from this author.
by Sarah Swan, Book Blogger
An excellent read that I couldn't put down. Highly recommended!
by Helen Stokes
Great book I enjoyed this book. It was a great read.
by M Bailey
Wow! What can I say? Jan's talent for writing is amazing. Such a superb story line, it grabbed me from the first word. It is crying out to be made into a film.
by I Edwardson
An excellent read. Really intriguing and captivating. I couldn't put it down once started and I loved the linked scenarios from the present day to the past.
by H. Slater
The heart-stopping prologue had me hooked from the start. It is the best prologue I remember reading. After that, I just had to finish the book in one sitting - it kept me awake until the wee hours of the morning. Something I haven’t done for years. And I’m not a natural fan of WW2 history. Many congratulations to the author for her considerable literary skills.
by Jane Bwye, Book Blogger, Book and Me.
Completely engaging story in which past and present intersect. In present time, a young woman experiences a tragic loss, setting her on the path of investigating the past of her late friend. Unique perspective on the war in France unfolds a beautiful, wrenching story.
by Fran Wagner (via NetGalley)
This book, discovered by chance, has become my favourite read of the year! The characters quickly became real, as did the stories of War-time Paris. On many levels, it is a book to surprise, enthral and to grip the reader, particularly if that reader is interested in social or family history. Avidly awaiting the next Jan Harvey book, which no doubt will continue the standard of highly-original fiction.
by Carol Richmond
I devoted the weekend to reading and finishing The Seven Letters which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I really wanted to find out how it ended but then, when I finished it, I wanted it to continue. I loved it.
by Elizabeth Hutton
Jan is a fabulous writer and knows how to hold your attention.
The Seven Letters is a real page turner.
by N. Trigg
What a brilliant book. I literally didn't want to put it down, but at the same time I didn't want to finish it because it was so good (If you see what I mean). Jan Harvey’s time-split style of writing and the way she weave the threads together at the end of the book are magical. I did find this novel more graphic than The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick, for example the prologue is slightly unsettling, but gripping. Then wow! The way it returned in Claudette's story later on was genius. Highly recommended.
by Gary Willis
I loved The Seven Letters. I literally could not put it down and was reading it in my lunch break, at bedtime and on the tube. My only regret is that it has taken me so long to finally get around to reading it. I loved how the stories inter weaved and would love to find out more about the horizontal collaborators.
by Katie Bend
I have just finished reading The Seven Letters.
I must say how much I loved the story and the way it was told.
I have owned the book for many months but have just recently read and finished it with a couple of weeks
I bought it after it was recommended to me by my local shop.
It had sat in my book collection, whilst I caught up on some other books.
The book, the story, the way it was told far surpassed my expectations.
As testament to that I took time out and wrote to the author; only the second author I have ever written to to acknowledge their work.
I am going to the store tomorrow to see if they have their other novel; they did when I bought this one.
If not I'll buy online.
by Lawrence Payne
Jan Harvey was born in Ormskirk, Lancashire in 1961. After a career as a magazine editor/designer working on various business publications she became an author in 2011.
Jan is also an artist working in glass and acrylics. She has exhibited widely with artwork selling worldwide.
Jan lives in The Cotswolds with her husband, Paul and flat coated retriever, Byron,