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Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Songbird and the Spy FB Banner

About the Book

The Songbird and the Spy
Book: The Songbird and the Spy
Author: J’Nell Ciesielski
Genre: Clean historical romance
Release Date: Feb 19, 2019
As shells explode over Nazi-occupied France, American music student Claire Baudin is trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to protect her identity. Singing as a barmaid while she plans her escape, a handsome Third Reich captain threatens everything she knows to be true about the enemy.
Nazi Captain Michael Reiner isn’t who he claims to be. A British language expert turned spy, he discovers the truth about Claire, but he knows the importance of a secret. Struggling to resist his attraction to the songbird, he’s determined to complete his assignment, no matter the cost. His cover is threatened when a ruthless female Gestapo officer arrives hunting Resistance fighters. The raid forces Michael’s hand: complete the mission or save Claire.
As the war threatens to tear them apart, they must rely on each other for survival. Is there hope—and a future—for an American songbird and a British spy?

About the Author

J'nell CiesielskiBelieving she was born in the wrong era, J’nell Ciesielski spends her days creating heart-stopping heroes, brave heroines, and adventurous exploits in times gone by. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages contest and Maggie Award, J’nell can often be found dreaming of a second home in Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Born a Florida girl, she now calls Virginia home, along with her very understanding husband, young daughter, and one lazy beagle. Find out more at

More from J’nell

The most popular question an author is asked is where did the inspiration come from. Most of the time, if not always, my inspiration comes from a trifecta of resources: movies, music, or books. A single song lyric, or secondary character, or novel setting can trigger a whole world of possibilities that has to be explored. In the case of Songbird and the Spy, it was a movie. A Quentin Tarantino movie to be exact set during WWII where one of the characters is a British officer posing as a Nazi meets up with other spies in a French bar. Another character was a Jewish woman posing as a theater owning Frenchwoman. My brain immediately tingled with ideas. What if identities were all in question? What if you fell in love with the wrong person? Not just the wrong person, but the enemy? The drama and tension in such a situation would be unbelievable!
And that is how Songbird was born.
Here are a few bits of trivia for you:
  • Songbird was originally titled Iron Shepherd for Michael’s call sign.
  • There have been three or four different endings written.
  • Michael Reiner was based off of Michael (see what I did there?!) Fassbender’s character in Inglorious Basterds. The actor was born in Germany to German and Irish parents, and later grew up in Ireland J Art imitating life.
  • Music always makes its way into my stories and here it takes center stage.
  • I’ve always wanted to write a USO story so the ending was my perfect chance to squeeze it in.
  • Ilsa von Ziegler was based off of Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones.
  • There was a scene showing Michael at SOE training in Scotland, but it was later cut.
  • Nazi headquarters in Paris really was located on Foch Ave. The building is still there.
  • The molten lead that Michael’s new assistant talks about is a German New Year’s tradition to divine fortune in the coming year. A small bit of lead or tin is melted, and then dropped in water. The form created by the metal predicts the future.
  • Chanteuse is a female singer. Edith Piaf, the most famous French singer of all, was known as The Little Sparrow. Songbird and chanteuse are both used to reference Claire and pay homage to Piaf.


As I started reading the first few pages, I was hooked on the story.  We meet Claire as she is traveling to France to visit relatives. There are rumors of Germany becoming more powerful and the threat of being taken by soldiers whispers in her relatives ears. I wanted to tell Claire to run as fast as she could and get back to America before it is to late. The day comes when she finds herself alone as she witnesses her relatives being taken away. I could sense the distress in Claire as she watched with painful eyes when her only hope of getting home slips away.

Michael is a very smart man and knows several languages which make him perfect for his assignment. Being a spy is a dangerous position to be put in, but Michael is well qualified and is determined to do what is right to stop the Germans. I wonder if his heart beast a little faster at times when he encounters those who could become suspicious of him? The author is so well versed in historical details, that I felt like I was right there in the midst of the story.

 Her writing is exquisite as the story takes on a journey for both Claire and Michael. I loved how Claire was able to use her gift of music to secure a place to stay. I'm not sure she is completely safe where she is especially when German soldiers are customers at the place she has found work. I loved how the author brings Michael to where Claire is and remembers her from the train accident she was in. Will she give him away or will she keep quiet so he can complete his mission?

I was fascinated by the German soldiers and how arrogant they were. Their trips to the bar where Claire works at was scary at times because I thought at any moment a fight would break out. Michael is having to be extra careful these days when a group comes to his camp to look things over. What must it be like to have to pretend you are someone and know that you are in danger everyday? 

The story is riveting and takes us deep into the enemy camp where missions are planned and Michael has to keep up his disguise in order to keep his country safe. I loved the intrigue and how Claire was willing to risk anything to get back home. She and Michael seem to start to trust each other but will it last? It is a captivating story with danger around every corner. You don't want to miss this story that captures the danger that two people face and the trials  they go through to fight for freedom. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, April 3
Wishful Endings, April 4
Carpe Diem, April 4
Emily Yager, April 5
Hallie Reads, April 7
Genesis 5020, April 8
Stories By GinaApril 10
Mary Hake, April 11
BigreadersiteApril 13
The Becca Files, April 14


To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away a grand prize of a print copy of Songbird and $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


  1. This sounds so good! I already have the book on my Kindle, but haven't gotten to it yet. Soon!

  2. Thank you for such a wonderful review!