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I have mixed feelings about this intense work of fiction. This is probably because I have read several books of nonfiction recently about France during WWII and the Vichy Regime. Some of the information presented in this book contradicts the actual history of the time. Additionally, if you know Paris well you will balk at the street locations and distances between places mentioned in the story. I found myself torn about pushing on with the book because of these problems. In the end, I allowed the excellent storytelling to override my concerns and treated the book as a compelling work of fiction.
Polly Stone's narration was really good. Her timing and accents added to the experience of listening. For me, she was a positive, but do listen to the sample because others disagree.
Be forewarned that this story is not for the faint of heart. Women and children in peril, torture, extreme violence and the horrors of war are all strong themes. Hannah's writing captured the emotions and fears of women in war forced to make difficult and impossible decisions. A harrowing, heartbreaking, and terrifying listening experience. If actual historic facts matter to you or if you are disturbed by violence I would proceed with caution.
182 of 199 people found this review helpful
There have been many books written about WWII and I have read many of them. For that reason I almost passed up this gem. It's a powerful, thought-provoking look at this horrible time in history from the very intimate perspective of a woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. It's about impossible choices, strength of the human spirit, endurance beyond imagining and hope. A stark reminder that not only men, but also women, were heroes in that war.
It's a long book, but I never felt it to drag. The narration was very well done. And I found myself wanting to stop along the way to reflect on situations and decisions characters had made and ask myself, "What would you have done?" There are many moral dilemmas in this book, none of which are easy. How far would you go to protect your child?
It was well worth the credit. The best book I've listened to in the past twelve months.
181 of 200 people found this review helpful