Thursday, October 12, 2023

Review: Ignorance by Michele Roberts

by Michele Roberts

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 240
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  After every war, there are stories that are locked away like bluebottles in drawers and kept silent. But sometimes the past can return: in the smell of carbolic soap, in whispers darting through a village after mass, in the colour of an undelivered letter.

Jeanne Nerin and Marie-Angèle Baudry grow up, side by side yet apart, in the village of Ste Madeleine. Marie-Angèle is the daughter of the grocer, inflated with ideas of her own piety and rightful place in society. Jeanne's mother washes clothes for a living. She used to be a Jew until this became too dangerous. Jeanne does not think twice about grasping the slender chances life throws at her. Marie-Angèle does not grasp; she aspires to a future of comfort and influence.

When war falls out of the sky, along with it tumbles a new, grown-up world. The village must think on its feet, play its part in a game for which no one knows the rules. Not even the dubious hero with 'business contacts' who sweeps Marie-Angèle off her feet. Not even the reclusive artist living alone with his sensual, red canvases. In these uncertain times, the enemy may be hiding in your garden shed and the truth is all too easily buried under a pyramid of recriminations.

Kritters Thoughts:  A unique historical fiction book that is told through multiple women as they try to survive World War II and its impact on the French people. While more than two women take turns telling this story, there are two main women who have very different lives and survive the war in very different ways. Without spoiling, it was so hard to read one woman's and think she was thriving and then see events happening in the other and see another side of the coin. They both were doing what they could to endure the war and it was heartbreaking to read it all. Without quotation marks and dates, this book was hard to read as I didn't quite know easily that these women were sharing their stories, but were at different moments in time during the war. Each woman had an experience and without even stepping foot in a concentration camp, this book was hard to read to see what women went through at this time. This book was stark both in its physical editing and the description of the time and place.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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