As the reader, we see one world in two time frames that has a storyline tracing France in 1939 and another storyline tracing France in 2000. To me the book dragged a lot in the beginning making it appear to be very boring. I also struggled to get through this book and it was only 393 pages long. And I could also say that the novel was well written but it did not flow as easily while reading. Because I became a bit bored in the beginning, I started getting confused with the many characters that is being introduced in the 1939 – 1945 period and the present, 2000, period. My mind was whirling trying to make a connection with the people of then and now. Honestly, there was no real connection between the two stories besides Claudia (the main character in the year 2000) that happens to be on holiday at La Maison Bleue, the house next to Oriane’s (the main character of the period 1939 – 1945). It just did not gel together great together.
The modern part of the story seemed lacking of developed characters and you could not easily get a liking to any of the characters but maybe Claudia. Claudia is an art lecturer, whom happens to be pregnant by a man who she loves but does not love her in return. And how she faces a moral dilemma, does she pretend that her fiancé is her baby’s father and act as if she loves him or does she tell him the truth and move on with her life. But then interesting developments take place that forces Claudia to made a decision with her life and the secret she is carrying.
The historical part of the story did not grip me at first but became interesting close to the end of the book. It tells us about Castroux’s involvement in the Resistance and the love affair of one of the village girls, Oriane and a German officer named Karl. To me, the historical part was far better than the modern part of the storyline.
This novel was a case of me fighting not to give up reading the book but to soldier on against all odds. I do think the author could have completely cut out the modern part of the novel and should have made the novel just about Oriane, the part which had more depth. And then maybe this novel could have been a better read.
The only connection I could establish between Oriane and Claudia was that they both loved unwisely. I would recommend that this novel should either be given a miss or should not go on anyone’s “TBR list” anytime soon.