Books about war are not my favorite genre, so it took a book club to get me to read this one about World War II. We had a great discussion about it this evening.
It is a fast-paced, plot driven book, but what redeemed it for me was how the main character (that you don’t like much in the beginning) grows, changes, and improves in the course of the book. This book– written by an architect– is about an architect that devises ingenious hiding places for Jews in occupied France. These clandestine projects are what change the man.
There are some excruciating Gestapo torture scenes, and a very realistic portrayal of how people do things in wartime that they would never do otherwise. Almost everyone here compromises themselves in some way. However, I found the main character’s friendship with the character Herzog both fascinating and refreshing, because it emphasized that all Germans in this war were not cut out of the same cloth.
This is an adult book for those that can stomach some violence. I almost stopped reading it because I have a low tolerance for that, but felt I came away with a realistic view of what that horrible time and place were like. Thankfully at least the ending was satisfying.
Since the writing in this novel was not particularly fabulous, I’m only going to give it 3.5 stars. Now I need to read something lighter!