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A story of WWI told through letters. It was effective to use multiple narrators, helping to define the characters. Unfortunately, the story is absolutely predictable. Everything develops exactly as expected, and there is no dramatic tension. But as a story of a WWI romance, and as a tribute to the lost art of letter writing, it's a sweet story. For those who are looking for a "clean" romance, this qualify ( no swearing or sex).
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
First, let me say there are some spoilers here so proceed with caution. Second, I now realize that this is serious "chick lit." I probably should have realized that when I read the description but I was blinded by the Parisian setting - an aspect that is of limited relevance to the book - and the romantic nature of the book.
I am a sappy romantic at heart so when I read the description, I thought this sounded like a good "Christmas book." In addition, I was enthralled to read a book set in Paris. I love the city, and true to my romantic nature, I proposed to my wife there. So I set out listening to this book in early December. Sadly, there was little about Christmas in the book - it just happened that the contemporary aspects of the book were set near Christmas but could have well been at some other time of year. And about the only exposure you get to Paris are a few references to locations around the city, an apartment and a cafe. Both of these were disappointing.
That being said, what really disappointed me was how the book devolved near the end. It was a decent historical fiction novel for about 75% of the book. While the method of telling the story through a series of letters and telegrams was a little disconnected and did not let the story flow quite as well as it could have, that was a key aspect to the overall plot of the book. As a device it was not a flop...just different. Toward the end, however, the female protagonist, Evie, shifts from being a strong wartime woman to being whiny and uncertain and illogical.
For example, at one point, with Tom in France fighting in the horror that was World War I, after spending most of the book being sympathetic and supportive of him, Evie starts whining about why isn't he writing enough? I don't know...perhaps he is under constant attack in the trenchs by Germans? Later, when Tom learns of Hopper's proposal and misinterprets events and sends a meltdown letter, Evie takes over a month to respond and attempt to set the record straight. Granted, she was busy with her own war service, but she found time to write to her friend Alice with a hand-wringing letter of "Oh what do I do??" This from a woman who was gung-ho, determined and decisive enough to serve in some capacity in WWI.
The book was good. Not on par with a Nicholas Sparks novel and short on Christmas and Paris, but not a bad read. Unfortunately, the weaknesses in the plot near the end marred the book and left the story less powerful than it could have been.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful