I've heard so much about this book and it definitely lived up to it's reputation! At first, I thought,
"Oh, no, another World War II book." My book club and myself have read so many over the last
few years, but this is not another World War II book. The characters are believable and full. The setting of the war from the view of the French people makes for a mesmerizing look at history.
Isabelle and Vianne are two sisters that are trapped in their lives due to the war and due to their individual circumstances. You will understand by the end of the book that the war in which they are embroiled, does not define their entire lives. They both rise above their doubts and fears to create new, but incredible lives, memorable lives. But war is not easy nor pretty and this novel by
Kristin Hannah does not cut out the ugly parts.
Vianne Mauriac is a young wife living in the quaint town of Carriveau with her husband and daughter. She is a school teacher and they live an idyllic life together in her parents old house.
Vianne is afraid of everything and when her husband, Antoine, go off to war she is left to handle
things on her own. As the war advances and the town is invaded by the Nazi's, she finds herself
living with a Nazi officer. She is trying to walk a tightrope through the war, not giving aid but not
allowing herself, her friends, and her daughter to suffer too much damage. Her younger sister has other ideas.
Isabelle has rebelled her entire life. Since their mother passed away, their father has pushed away
the two sisters. Fighting her way through boarding school after boarding school, she has finally
found her way home to her father and his book store at the start of the war. With the looming
Nazi invasion, her father sends her off with family friends to go stay with her sister, but the pampered
Isabelle faces some of the most harrowing days of the war just trying to get to Carriveau. She meets
Gaetan, a young man determined to fight back, who helps her arrive at her sister's house. Isabelle becomes determined to fight back also and she usually gets her way.
From that start the two sisters fight the war in their own ways. Neither is better or easier for their survival but they bravely fight anyway. With help, love and determination, they fight the Nazi
invasion of their country in their own way. You will not feel how they can survive, but you must
read this book to find out if they do. The story is told in beautiful language that flows across the page and builds vivid pictures of their stories. A huge thumbs up!!