Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Published on: February 3, 2015
As Germany begins to take over France, Isabelle makes her way to the village of Carriveau, where her sister Vianne lives. Along the way there she meets Gaetan, A man who is not quite ready to surrender and shares his ideas to fight this battle within France. This really speaks to Isabelle because she is naturally rebellious and hates these German soldiers who have taken over her beloved France.
Soldiers begin to arrive in Carriveau much to the disbelief of Vianne, who was just ready to pretend this wasn’t happening. Which is hard to do when your husband has been sent the frontlines to fight. Not only have solider arrived but a solider has been billeted to her house, so now she must live with the enemy.
With the war comes difficult choices, that each sister will have to make in order to survive in this New World.
Through out this book I was in tears, it was heartbreaking to read but I loved it so much. Kristin Hannah is amazing storyteller and she writes beautifully.
This book is perfection and I don’t even want to say anything bad about this book because it is really was well crafted. However, I felt that the love interest for Isabelle was a little to insta-love for me. I just didn’t feel the connection between them. For me it was the weakest part of the story but I can look past that since the rest of the story is well done.
I loved that the author told a story about how women contributed to the war, something that you don’t read that much about. I felt that Isabelle and Vianne were both strong female characters and liked how we got to read from both their perspectives. Although, they are quite different and have different view on how they should handle this war. They both are strong and brave. I felt that they both were well-developed characters and by the end the amount of growth both characters achieved was worth the read. I honestly can’t choose a favourite character because I love them both equally.
At the beginning Vianne, had her head in the sand so she wouldn’t have to see that war was happening, She just plastered on a smile and did wouldn’t want to talk about it .This was frustrating at times, you kind of want to shout at her to wake up and open her eyes. Even though Vianne was frustrating at times, I related more to her character because I believe that I would act in similar way that she did. Just keep my head down and follow the rules so as not to bring attention to myself. Isabelle is the opposite from her sister she is stubborn and has a rebellious streak. So, naturally when the Germans begin to occupy France, she has the urge to join the rebellion I admired Isabelle as a character because of her courageous acts. I was definitely frightened for her at times. She did things that I don’t think I could have done.I only wish I could be half as brave as her.
Not only is this book about the war but it does go into family dynamics. Vianne and Isabelle don’t have the best of relationship with each other or with their father. They both dealt with the abandonment by their father in different ways Isabelle became a rebel trying to gain the attention and love from her dad. Vianne chose to start her own family at a young age. I do love to read about family dynamics and so I did liked that aspect of the book and I believe it added depth to the characters.
This book is told in a way that someone is remembering the past. The bulk of the story is told during the war but there are a few chapters where it is set in 1995, as an elderly lady is thinking about her time during the war. This alternating of the present day and the past is very well done, it wasn’t jarring and was done at the right times so the transition was smooth. And again the majority of the chapters were set in World War II, so you weren’t being taken out of the past to the present that often. When you are reading from the elderly women’s point of view it is told in first person, so you aren’t sure who she is, she maybe either one of the sisters and it isn’t revealed until the end. During the story set in the past it is told in a third person omnipresent. I loved that Kristin Hannah chose to write in this perspective it allowed yu to get the thoughts of both Vianne and Isabelle which allowed you to be able to connect to both of them.
I loved this book and gave it 5 stars. I hope this review convinces you to give this book a try. I highly recommend this read.