Wednesday, January 14, 2015
A Fifty Year Silence - Review
A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: As a child Miranda's grandparents seemed so unalike and so distant that she was shocked to learn that they had once been married. As she gets older and gets to know her grandfather more she becomes fascinated by their story. What happened to them? What were they like as a couple and what does a ruined house in France have to do with it all?
Why I Picked This Book: I'm fascinated by family secrets and the lives of regular people in history.
Pro: I think going in I was expecting a simpler book. The story of her grandparents - what they went through and what ultimately caused their parting of ways. But this is a story about real people and so of course it's never simple. While we do get the story of Anna and Armand we get the story of Miranda as well. How her family past influences her present and her future. How the ghosts and the weight of their history affects her choices. We see the story unfolding through her eyes and through her pace. It's organized not chronologically the way it happened but chronologically the way she uncovered it. While that didn't make for the most coherent story of the past it really made me understand who Anna, Armand and Miranda are now and it made me think quite a bit about my own family and the secrets that are hiding back through the generations. On a side note - there are a handful of pictures scattered throughout the book but they work very well in e-book format.
Con: I would have liked some clarification on the background of both her grandparents. They were in France during World War 2 and Armand is originally from Switzerland but I'm not 100% clear on Anna's heritage. There were hints that she was Romanian but that part was a little too vague for my list making little brain. This did get clearer but only at the end. While in general I enjoyed how the story unraveled I think I would've enjoyed it more if this had been nailed down a bit more.
Overall: I think anyone interested in the history of ordinary people would enjoy this. While I enjoyed the read all the way through I didn't realize until the end what a truly powerful story this really is. I felt the heartbreak of it for days. It's a unique style of narration and interesting look into people who lost the right to be ordinary.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, though not necessarily an auto-buy.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes. I think history lovers would find this interesting.
Challenges Met? Alphabet Soup (F), New to Me (Author)