By far the most heart breaking and one of the hardest books emotionally that I have ever read. It has been a long time since I've cried so much reading a book. Even though it's tough to stomach, it was a really incredible story that I know will stay with me for a very long time.
After sleeping on this, I haven't stopped thinking about it and had to bump it up to 5 stars, with a proper review.
I like a good cry once in awhile. What I wasn’t expecting was the sob fest I would get while reading this incredible book. It has been a long time since a book has brought me to so many tears, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Just that this book was heartbreaking and at times very difficult to read because of the subject matter. Most of all it was a complete eye opener for me.
I have never been a fan of historical fiction. But having read almost all of Hannah’s books, including Winter Garden, which was historical and I loved it, I decided to give this book a try.
History was my least favorite subject in school, and I retained very little information about the Holocaust and the Nazi’s, other than obviously how completely awful it was. Clearly Hannah did a lot of research for this novel because, even though it’s a work of fiction, it felt so true to life and it completely devastated me. The horror people went through during those times is unfathomable to me. And I lived it through the eyes of these two sisters. It broke my heart over and over again. So much that I can’t stop thinking about the book still today.
The book starts in 1995 from the POV of an older woman who’s son is about to put her in an assisted living facility, then it takes you to France in the 1940’s. As this woman is reminiscing about her life during WWII, you don’t know who she is until the very end of the book, and that was brilliant on Hannah’s part.
Although the flashbacks to France and the war are incredibly difficult to read, I couldn’t put the book down because I had to know who the woman was at the end. And I needed to know what happened to these two sisters in the story, more than I needed sleep last night. Seeing the war through their eyes was unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Hannah’s prose is beautiful, her writing flawless. I have always loved her novels and have rarely read one without crying, but this book was by far the most emotional novel I’ve ever read. Beautiful and tragic at the same time, this book will stay with me for a very long time.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a must read. If you haven’t read Kristin Hannah, I recommend you add her to your list immediately! Just make sure you have a box of tissues close by. And trust me, every single book of hers is worth all the tears!