Read for: Avid Reader March Book Club (note — I joined another book club, so now I will distinguish them as the Avid Reader Book Club and the FBC [First Baptist Church] Book Club)
Borrowed from: the Sacramento Library
Rating: 8 out of 10
Synopsis (from Publishers Weekly): Esther, a WWII-era Welsh barmaid, is raped by her boyfriend, and her Welsh village is turned into a dumping ground for German prisoners. Meanwhile, Karsten, a German POW who is mortified that he’d ordered his men to surrender, believes that only by escaping can he find redemption. Among the more nuanced secondary characters is a British captain who is the son of a German-Jewish WWI hero—the man’s father had always considered himself a Lutheran until the Nazi ascension forced him to flee Germany. As Esther begins to question her own allegiances, Karsten comes into her orbit.
My Rating: I wasn’t going to read this one. I was going to skip book club this month because I really can’t stand reading about war, especially the Nazis. Generally, they make me sick (as I think they should. They are Nazis afterall.). But I picked it up just to see if I could get into it, and I’m really glad I did. (Not to mention, Cori-favorite author David Mitchell wrote a blurb on the back calling Davies ”a memorable writer of sinewy intelligence.” Oooh.) I thought this was a great debut novel. There wasn’t much plot, it just sort of gave a glimpse into the lives of these people who are thrown together in difficult circumstances. The characters were richly drawn and they all felt very real, even the secondary characters. The writing was crisp, as was the dialogue. There was a lesson in the story that made me a little wary — you can tell a really, really big lie and it’s okay. But at least the lie felt real and like a decision that someone would actually make. Overall, it was quite a good little novel.