The new period romance starring Michelle Williams and Matthias Shoenaerts is based on a novel that survived World War II against the odds. Irene Nemirovsky was a well-known novelist in pre-war France, and as the Nazis occupied her country she began writing a sequence of five novels about life during wartime. But in July 1942, she was arrested as a Jew and deported to Auschwitz, where she was killed.

Matthias Schoenaerts as Bruno von Falk in 'Suite Française'
Matthias Schoenaerts as Bruno von Falk in 'Suite Française'

At the time of her deportation, she had only completed the first two books in the series, handwritten in notebooks that were collected by her daughters. Thinking they were journals, the women were afraid to read about their mother's wartime experiences, and left them untouched. More than 50 years later, elder daughter Denise looked through them, discovering the two novels written in microscopic handwriting over 140 pages. The two books were titled 'Tempete en Juin' ('Storm in June') and 'Dolce' ('Sweet'), and were published together as 'Suite Française' in 2004 along with notes from Nemirovsky including the outline of the next book 'Captivite' ('Captivity') and the titles of the final two books in the series: 'Batailles' ('Battles') and 'La Paix' ('Peace').

More: Read The Review For 'Suite Française'

Rated as one of the best novels of the decade, 'Suite Française' is also one of the first works of fiction ever written about WWII. The book became an instant bestseller, acclaimed for Nemirovsky's beautiful writing style and also because it takes a viewpoint very different from the one usually rendered in retrospect: that all Germans were barbaric killers. 

Watch The Trailer For 'Suite Française' Here: 

For the film, screenwriters Matt Charman and Saul Dibb have focussed on the story from 'Dolce' of Lucille Angellier (played by Williams), her harsh mother-in-law (Kristin Scott Thomas) and the German officer Bruno von Falk (Schoenaerts) who is billeted in their home.