Feb 13, 2015

A Fifty-Year Silence {Book Review}

A Fifty-Year Silence - Love, War, and a Ruined House in France
by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

Book Synopsis:
Anna and Armand, the author's grandparents, survived Hitler and the many trials of World War Two through their hard work and perseverance.  They got married before the war's end, and Armand was able to be one of the translators at the Nuremberg Trials after the war.  They were blessed with two children, and their plucky personalities carried them successfully through the remainder of their lives.  But for reasons unknown, their marriage disintegrated after the war's end and they chose to never speak to one another again, living for more than fifty years without a single word passing between the two of them.

Their granddaughter, the book's author, is determined to discover the secret which drove them apart and piece together their experiences during the war.  In her effort to learn their memories and stories, she moves to France and spends extensive amounts of time extracting bits of information from two stubborn people who don't even wish to speak of each other.

My Thoughts:
I've always been very interested in the history and stories of WWII, so when I saw this book was an option for me to review I jumped at the opportunity, finding myself even more curious because of the mysterious element involved.

The book was interesting and held my attention quite well, but I found myself somewhat disappointed to realize that the story focuses far more on the author's personal journey and efforts to discover her grandparents' experiences then it actually does on her grandparents' experiences.

While I don't blame the author for this, as her sources were frustratingly vague, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting either.  Even after finishing the book the story of Anna and Armand remains somewhat disjointed and incomplete in my mind, with vague incidents jumbling themselves together in a timeline that I can't quite grasp.

But in a way, the frustrating aspects of Anna and Armand's story also serves to help the reader sympathize all the more with the frustrations the author herself went through during the years she tried to piece their story together, giving us a better and almost personal glimpse into her story.

Other Notes and Things to be Aware of:
Language - I really didn't notice anything objectionable in the book with the exception of one page which was full of profanity.  The language was used in an effort to shock someone into life-preserving action, and is entirely contained on one page of the book, but I would have preferred that the profanity was simply alluded to instead of directly being quoted.

Superstition & Fortune Telling - The author is Jewish, not Christian, and this is subtly evident throughout the book. There are several mentions of her and her grandmother engaging in fortune-telling and other such superstitions, although how seriously they actually took such things isn't really clear.

My Rating:
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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