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It is not good when you start a book and don't believe in the feasibility of the characters' first actions. These actions didn't fit the characters' personalities. Once this feeling was lodged in my head I could never throw it off. The characters, their relationships and their actions were not credible.
This is a book of historical fiction that depicts the first years after WW2 in Germany. The setting is Hamburg and the year is 1946. What saved me from giving the book only one star is the accurate and interesting description of the situation in Germany at this time. It was split into four zones, controlled by the English, the Americans, the French and the Russians respectively. The political tensions between the nations are emerging.
The dramatic ending is cinematic in tone. It was NOT to my taste. Talk about unbelievable! Talk about cute! Talk about tying up all the strings into a neat little bow! This book has in fact two titles: the second is The Picture Book, and that is the more appropriate!
I don't mind sex in a book, but every darn relationship was propelled by sex. This too was not believable. Did the author do this to attract contemporary readers?
I liked the historical but not the fictional content of this book.
(The narration by Leighton Pugh was fine.)
Really enjoyed this book. Great literary fiction set during a difficult, little explored period in history. Atmospheric descriptive writing and good characterisation, with excellent narration. I couldn't stop listening.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I picked this up on 2 for 1 Audiobook offer. I had never heard of this book or author before but glad I now do.
It is a story told in the post Second World War Germany and the role of the different allied groups i.e. the British, French, Russians in forming the 'new' Germany. It is the story of a British family who come to Germany to share a home with a German family.
It is interesting to see the way of life at the time and the lives of the ragged begging German children and the currency they use to barter and get vouchers i.e. Cigarettes. If you have Cigarettes it seems you can get anything!
Its interesting how the Germans had to go through this 'cleansing' process to prove they were not affiliated with Hitler. Without this certificate of authenticity they could not work travel or 'live' basically.
The British family are grieving for the loss of their eldest son who was killed by a German bomb in England.
While initially the mother Rachel finds it very difficult to be under the same roof with the Germans that gradually changes and Rachel moves from a grieving mother to one who is starting to live again. Her husband Lewis is shown as just a really good guy throughout perhaps too good to be true in some instances. He does not seem to have grieved for his lost son and finds it difficult to relax with his family. The story maintains the interest of the reader throughout and I felt connected with the characters. I felt the narrative helped and brought it all together.
Overall a very interesting read. I would recommend it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful