The French War Bride
Book 2 in the Wedding Tree series
Author Robin Wells
Narrated by Ann Marie Lee, Elizabeth Wiley
Published by Tantor Media
Publication date Mar 28, 2017
Running time 16 hrs 21 min
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
At her assisted living center in Wedding Tree, Louisiana, ninety-three-year-old Amélie O’Connor is in the habit of leaving her door open for friends. One day she receives an unexpected visitor—Kat Thompson, the ex-fiancée of her late husband, Jack. Kat and Jack were high school sweethearts who planned to marry when Jack returned from France after World War II. But in a cruel twist of fate, their plans were irrevocably derailed when a desperate French girl overheard an American officer’s confession in a Parisian church . . .
Now Kat wants to know the truth behind a story that’s haunted her whole life. Finding out how Amélie stole Jack’s heart will—she thinks—finally bring her peace. As Amélie recalls the dark days of the Nazi occupation of Paris, The French War Bride reveals how history shapes the courses of our lives . . . for better or for worse.
While it has romantic elements, and is a sad love story, this book brooks no romanticizing of WWII. People of all ages and religions are brutally murdered and treated by people on both sides. It is pretty sad, and I am sure the war it portrays is not even one tenth as terrible as the war actually was.
The ruthlessness of war leads to acting by necessity, not what might be moral under normal circumstances. In Amelie’s place, with her quick intelligence, anyone would do the things she had to do to survive. So many family and friends lost, and she struggled on. Her biggest crime was lying to Jack to save someone else? Somehow, I felt the ends justified the means.
On the other hand, pampered and spoiled Kat lost a fiance, poor thing. She didn’t lose everything and everyone. Kat was home, at college and planning her wedding. Her letters to Jack, a doctor in the European theater, watching people die before he could help them, were filled with inanities like wedding flowers. If I had been Amelie that, rather than what the book is about, would have been what I told her when she shows up at her senior living apartment.
I have only two complaints with the book: Repetition, in 3rd hand retelling, of certain events across time and characters.
And, then there is the narration. While I found Lee to offer appropriate accents and pace, Wiley, who narrated THE SISTERS OF VERSAILLES, offered a voice that repeated the simpering that drove me nuts to the point where I had been unable to finish the second book in the Versailles series. It ruined the story for me and occasionally made me cringe.
I give this a thumbs up for totally unromantic portrayal of war time, and for depiction of friendship. But for narration I would have to withhold my approval.
TANTOR MEDIA: https://tantor.com/the-french-war-bride-robin-wells.html
ROBIN WELLS: http://robinwells.com/