Harrowing. Poignant. Heartbreakingly tragic, yet beautiful. God, this book. For the longest time I thought Isabelle was narrating the novel. And then to find out that she survived the war only to die in Gaëtan’s arms. Geez. I felt that stab in my heart.
I don’t know what to say about this book. There is so much to talk about but I still feel so raw. God. A story of two sister’s that never got along? But to say it this way is to reduce the impact of this story. Two sisters that survive the war and fight in their own way? Closer, but not better. Two sisters who fight to survive a war.
Isabelle wanted to be like her hero Edith Cavell, and in the end she was. She joined the Resiatance. She traversed the Pyrenees numerous times to save downed airmen. And when she was captured and tortured, she gave them no information. She survived the prison camps. She found and knew love during the war. Love, that she had been so desperately seeking all her life. Her death, tragic.
Vianne left the past, in the past. She was haunted by the war but moved past it. She survived the war as best she could. And she did everything to keep her children safe. All she wanted was to keep her head down and survive. But when the war knocked at her door, she herself became a hero. She took a little Jewish boy in, at penalty of her death and Sophie’s. And she continued rescuing children throughout the war. Something that her father and sister never knew about. Nor her son, Julien.
Resist. Fight for what is right. Don’t bow down to evil. Isabelle and Vianne fought the Nazi’s without violence. Love is a strong force that makes the meek brave enough to resist and gives the strong a reason to keep on fighting. Love and kindness. Stronger than guns and violence. Love and kindness.