Another emotional, history-filled read by Kristy Cambron! As are most of her books, this one followed a split timeline, and that presented a few issues for me. But this book was filled with some really beautiful prose and some lovely themes.
Our two MCs, Sandrine and Lila, were both women living in France during WWII. Both endure some really difficult circumstances but live far different lives. I think Sandrine was my favorite, though Lila’s story was more intriguing to me. Rene and Christian were both pretty nice dudes, but since they didn’t have POVs, I didn’t feel like I knew them really well. The same applies to the ladies, I think, even though they did have POVs. I did appreciate Lila’s voice stood out, but I still felt a little separated from her as well. I’m not sure if it’s because each of them only got half of a book, or maybe it was just the writing style. But … Nigel. And Carlyle! Both such golden side characters. The first time Nigel came on-scene, I literally heard him speaking in a British accent. It was that well-done. He was a great character. And Carlyle was such a cliche American, but in the best of ways. I wish those guys had had more of a story, but they had their moments.
The plot’s a little tricky for me. Because of the split timeline, I was a little bit overwhelmed by all of the different switches. Sandrine and Lila each had two different times, so if I weren’t super attentive to what date it was at the top of each scene, I was lost. I think I would’ve done better if it had just been two different times instead of four, but that’s just because I’m a lazy reader. The plot, in general, felt a little bit wandering to me. That may also be because it took me about a week to read the whole thing, so maybe if I’d read it more quickly it would’ve made more sense. I did enjoy how things kind of tied up in the end, even though it was pretty hard to read.
And the themes … I was pleasantly surprised. This publisher tends to keep to very light or no Christian messages, but this book touched on faith and the importance of knowing the Lord would care for His children and that He is always good. Definitely good things to discuss and highlight! There were a couple times when a character talked about lighting candles for someone, which I think is a very Catholic tradition. Obviously, that’s not what I’m looking for in my Christian fiction, so that was disappointing.
And I can’t finish this review without talking about the writing style! This author has really lovely prose – wonderful use of verbs and new ways to describe things. I wish I could write more like her! I will say this book felt a little different than her others, though. There was a lot of dialogue (don’t get me wrong, I love dialogue!), but to the point I wasn’t even sure who was saying what in some instances. Sometimes the dialogue just felt like a flood of info, not really a conversation. However, it takes a very talented author to write as Cambron does, and I’m looking forward, Lord willing, to reading her next release!