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In the first two hours, I found some story elements and especially their narration over-the-top, though they expressed the sexual politics of the time; however, the narrative and even the narrator steadied as the novel progressed.
The meticulous depiction of daily life detail of three women and their family and friendship ties across 20 years with changing intersections of gender, class, race, and ethnicity may not appeal to all. Even if this appeals, the insight characters have into their situations is a bit incredible ??? perhaps if the narrative was spun from the viewpoint of a an elderly character reflecting back on the stories, that insight may have fitted better.
I???ve come across many good (and more not so good!) novels treating the social impact of war on British society ??? but not so mnay from an American point of view ???-so this was of high interest to me. Sometimes it takes a historical fiction facade to deal with contemporary realities, and perhaps this was the chief intent of the author. I would have preferred the simply but well drawn porttraits of the women, with room left for 21st century insight of my own. Still, (after the first couple of hours of outrage-provoking scenes), this is overall a quiet, thoughtful listen, and a real contribution to the literature on the social impact of war - an extra star for that.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
I wonder if I would have enjoyed this book more if I read the text. Especially for the first half of the novel I was distracted by the overwrought reading of the narrator. She sounded as if she was continually wringing her hands. The book deals with emotional scars left by war, but the topic is more effective if presented in an understated way. Having just finished The Rules of Civility, this suffered by comparison.
In addition, the jumping back and forth in time as the same incidents were related from the point of view of the different women was a little confusing. Maybe using different narrators (as was done for the wonderful recording of The Help) would have been a good idea.
The book explores the effects of WW II on three women and their children, during, and in the years after, the war. While too many topics are attempted to be completely successful with all of the threads, the author does write well and I found myself caring about the characters. The title comes from a quote of lexicographer Eric Partridge: ???War???next to love, has captured the world???s imagination.??? This novel is a pleasing foray of imagination into the struggles of loving well under war conditions.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful