This book wasn’t what I expected. Sometimes it felt, for me, to be a little too true-to-life to be an entirely comfortable read. It was, however, a book that I couldn’t walk away from. Why couldn’t I walk away from it? It was just a book. Just words on paper, telling a story about people who don’t actually exist, a time that is being forgotten and reworked until it’s unrecognizable from what I learned in grade school, places I’ve never been and probably will never go even though I really really want to travel, and experiences I will never have.
So what did this book say to me? Why did I read it? Was it merely because the book was engaging. Telling me a story that I had never heard before in such a way that I did not want to put the book down until I had discovered every secret? Why did I like this book? Well, I was always a history geek. History was my favorite subject in school. I would read every bit of my history book and ace all my tests in this subject. Is it because this book dealt with a part of history that I’ve been fascinated by since I first heard about it? I don’t know.
What I do know is that the book is well written. The characters are real people you can see if you close your eyes and concentrate. The pacing is superb. Anthony Doerr moves back and forth through time, but it wasn’t confusing. At least for me. I read it in three or four days. I had to reach the end and find out what happened to these people. The ending did not disappoint me, although it was a surprise and not at all what I was expecting.
A definite recommend to anyone who likes historical novels about WWII or about people fighting to survive impossible lives.