Title: Angels Of The Resistance
Author: Noelle Salazar
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: November 29th 2022
Publisher: MIRA
Finished reading: November 23rd 2022 
Pages: 416

“There was only a single decisive thought: I was meant for this.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and MIRA in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


WARNING: get ready to board the unpopular opinion train again!

Right… I definitely didn’t expect this to happen when I added Angels Of The Resistance. It’s not often that I get the chance to visit a city close to the town where I was born in a story; as soon as I found out this story was set in WWII Haarlem in the Netherlands, I knew that I HAD to read it. True, I was a tad worried about the fact that Haarlem was referred to as a small town (which it is most definitely not), but I hoped it would only be a minor slip and the rest of the story would make up for it… Sadly, Angels Of The Resistance and me weren’t ment to be.

I had such high hopes for the historical setting; it’s not often that I get to visit The Netherlands during WWII, and it’s usually either Amsterdam or Rotterdam that gets the spotlight. Having Haarlem heavily featured was one of the reasons I wanted to read Angels Of The Resistance; it’s a city I’ve visited many many times during my childhood, and I was looking forward to visit it again. This is probably part of the reason why I was immediately annoyed by this story. Haarlem has had city rights since the 13th century and over 140.000 habitants during the war (yes, I checked). So having it referred to as a small town multiple times was really frustrating. Not only that, but it was even referred to as ‘town by the sea‘, as if the characters could walk right to the beach in no time at all (they are in for a LONG walk if they want to do that, trust me). I know people who aren’t familiar with The Netherlands wouldn’t be bothered by this, but for me personally it was a source of disappointment.

I also struggled considerably with the main characters. I never warmed up to Lien at all, making it very hard to stay focused and care about what happened to her. Her whole attitude with her blaming herself for things that are happening sure got frustrating fast… And what is with the names used? Elif is most definitely not an originally Dutch name nor used back then, and it started to grate on me every time it popped up. I wasn’t sure up to what point the Dutch representation was actually accurate in general; it mostly felt like an American view of what life in the Netherlands would be like back then.

There was also something about the writing style that irked me enormously… I can’t put my finger on the why, but I really struggled to find the motivation to keep reading and I started skimreading long before the halfway mark just to get it over with faster. Angels Of The Resistance was also surprisingly graphic for a historical fiction read, and violent scenes are described in detail. And then I’m not even talking about the attempted rapes and added steamy scenes… It was all just too blunt and distracted from the plot instead of adding to it. The tone in general just didn’t feel fitting for a historical fiction read; the events and interactions also felt almost forced.

I know that I’m in the minority when it comes to my negative reaction to this story though… Most people seem to love their time with this book. I guess not intimately knowing Dutch culture and Haarlem will sure help considerably, and people react differently to a writing style and certain elements. I just wanted to put my two cents out there in case there was someone else struggling with Angels Of The Resistance… I sure came close to that decision to DNF more than once myself, but considering the glowing reviews the chances are high this story will work better for you.

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