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As a longtime member of a university Holocaust Studies Advisory Board, this was a must-read. Alternating Sarah's and Julia's voices was audacious and successful as the plot unfolded, particularly the Sarah segments. But the novel became diffuse after Sarah (maybe halfway through the book), with plots, subplots, distracting detail, and an almost narcissistic and distracting focus on Julia's marriage and personal life. It began to read like another book--not very different from many other fictional looks at women's lives, identities, careers, marriages, hopes and disappointments. Yes, a very important genre, but it would have taken a much greater gift than Ms. de Rosnay has to meld these two novels into one. As the plot drifts, and Sarah becomes a small penumbra, the writing becomes pedestrian, and though it is not a long book, I was glad to finally reach the end.
I give the book three stars because of the subject matter and the quality of Sarah's segments.
The narrator is very good throughout, rendering the accents and affects of the many characters with skill and confidence. What must have been a lot of hard work in this voicing challenge was well worth it.
31 of 33 people found this review helpful
I learned some history I didn't know, and that's good. I was very disappointed with the character development. This should have been a strong, memorable story, but it fell way short. I would have much preferred to see only Sarah's story told. The current day characters were shallow, boring, and added pretty much nothing to the book.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
I listened to this book as I travelled by train to Yorkshire and back and it engrossed me the whole journey. The characters were very strongly drawn and the story is well crafted. The only itrritation for me was some instances of cliched dialogue ... but the reader did a good job!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is a heartbreaking story based around an event I had never heard of - and for the first two thirds of the book I was expecting to give it four or maybe five stars. The narration is excellent, and the story of Sarah told so well, that I could not stop listening.
Often when I finish a book I wonder "What happened next? What did the characters in the book go on to do?" In this case, I think I would have preferred to wonder - the last part of the book feels a bit unnecessary and is far less interesting than the rest of it. That said, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it (but have some tissues handy!).
1 of 1 people found this review helpful