Published: February 3rd, 2015
Synopsis: In 1939, Vianne is living in the French countryside with her husband and daughter when news of France’s involvement in World War 2 comes. Vianne’s husband must go fight, leaving her and her daughter to face the Germans who have taken over that area of France. Her much younger sister, Isabelle, joins her, but her headstrong personality won’t let her sit by and do nothing while her country is being occupied.
I’m not sure why I was so skeptical about this book because I had only heard good things, but I was. And oh boy was I wrong to think it would be just okay. I read the last 100 or so page of this at work and I kid you not, I went to the bathroom so no one would see me cry. 😭😂
I thought the beginning of this book was honestly a little slow, but I understand why. It did a good job of setting up what life was like before. I also had a hard time because I honestly did not like Vianne at the beginning, which now I feel really bad about, but I really couldn’t stand her. After about 100 pages though, things really picked up.
I really liked that the book opened with a “present” day point of view. It gave me hope that at least one of these sisters made it out alive because with books about wars, you never know who will make it. I also liked these present day chapters were dispersed throughout. The balance of these chapters was really good because there were only a few, so they didn’t take you out of the main story for too long.
My absolute favorite character was Isabelle. She gave up so much of herself for what she believed in, even when everyone told her that she couldn’t because she was a girl or not mature or strong enough. I love the contrast between Isabelle and Vianne. They are such different people with different experiences and ways of thinking, but they still both kind of ended up making the same decisions. Their relationship with each other was complicated, but I loved seeing it, as well as their relationships with the rest of their family.
This is a story that really shows you that when people are under pressure, either the best or the worst will come out in them. Some people take advantage of others to satisfy their own greed, but others will use what little they have to spare to help those who have even less. Stories like this usually end up being some of my favorite, as well as the ones that make me the most emotional.
This book is about love, war, sacrifice, and what you would do for those you love. It was an emotional ride, but it was so worth it and I highly recommend it.