I bought this book after it was our book club pick for this month. It sat on my Kindle for over three weeks before I even looked it up. I had no idea what to expect as I skipped reading the synopsis or the reviews before buying the book.
I finished the book a day after I started reading with tears streaming down my eyes. Tears not because of the way it ends but for the powerful storytelling and a story that will stay in my head for years.
Hannah’s language is lyrical and evocative. The story starts in current day and slips effortlessly into the 1930s and 1940s. This is a tale of two sisters set in the middle of WWII. What makes this book unputdownable at 440 pages long is that the story hums along refusing to get bogged down by details. Yes, it about the war but it isn’t about bombs and being out in the trenches. It about the women left behind. The ones who trudge on through the days, weeks and years, carrying on running their homes, raising their children despite the unspeakable horrors they witness. It is the story of courage – of mothers, of sisters, of friends and of neighbors. It is about what is worth fighting for when you have lost everything. Well, almost.
The magic of the story that Hannah spins is such that you are transported into the freezing winters of France, on to the sidewalks of Paris in its heydays and in the middle of rebels plotting to fight to the death. You are there, with Vianne, with Isabelle as they grapple with the questions of what is right and what they can do.
An absolutely lovely and thought provoking read. A book I know I will re-read in the years to come. A definite buy!