Monday, 12 March 2012

The Things We Did For Love by Natasha Farrant

Pages - 224
Published by Faber and Faber in 2012

Goodreads Summary
As war rages in Europe, teenagers Luc and Arianne fall passionately in love. But German forces are closing in and Luc, desperate to atone for his family's past, is drawn into the dangerous world of the Resistance. Arianne will do almost anything to keep him safe, but someone else is secretly in love with her - someone who will stop at nothing to get rid of his rival...
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Do you ever think that perhaps the afterword should be written at the front of the book rather than the back? In this case, I really do think it would have aided my enjoyment of this book so much better. On reading the afterword, I realised that although the characters are fictional, the setting and the events were mainly true. The ending of the book was extremely sad and I found it difficult to understand why it would end in such a way - until I read the afterword and realised that reality doesn't always have a happy ending. 

There were parts of this story I enjoyed and parts that I didn't, so I feel like I am sitting on the fence when it comes to this book. I was drawn to the love story that had blossomed between Luc and Arianne and I would have liked to have seen that developed in more depth. I felt the growing relationship was rushed a little in the first part of the book. 
I loved the historical element of the story. The WW2 period seems to be coming  a lot more popular in YA in recent months and it was good to see it from the perspective of the French. I think historical YA books like this help to bring that time period to life for teenagers. 

I could understand Luc's need to join the Maquis; to watch so many of your own people suffer must have been excruciating. Living in a time and country where we don't see the ravages of war close at hand, I can only imagine how that would have made me feel. 

I felt the characters had room to grow within the story and I never felt I truly got to know them. The only one who really stood out for me was Romy and he came across as a rather weak willed young man on the verge of having a restraining order placed against him.

The beginning of the book seemed a little disjointed to me and I found there were conversations which were unnecessary and didn't really add to the story. As the book progressed the story improved and you really felt all that the villagers were suffering. The horrific treatment of the town folk by the Germans made my stomach turn. The ending of the book was very traumatic. To see people lives treated so casually was abysmal but so true of the crimes carried out by the Germans during the war. 

On reading the afterword written by the author, the author mentioned that she had given the details of the events of the town sparingly, unfortunately I felt that this was the downfall of this story. Not that I wanted to see such atrocities written about, but I felt that they may have given the story more depth.

This book was an interesting read and will definitely appeal to YA historical lovers. Although I enjoyed it,  I would love to see the story expanded. I would have loved to get to know the characters more at the beginning of the book, seen them together as friends before war created barriers between them. 

I know that Hayley at Dark Readers and Laura at Sister Spooky really loved this book, so I would  definitely head over to their blogs this week to read a more favourable review. 

12 comments:

  1. Hmm, I don't know if I've ever wished the afterward was at the start rather than the end. I think because I generally read the end of the book before I get there, anyway, it doesn't make a huge difference to me :-)

    This book has a gorgeous cover.

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  2. Glad that I'm not the only one to think this way. It doesn't happen very often with me but I can certainly remember reading a handful of books where I've though that the afterword (the backward as our nephew calls it) should have been written as the foreward.

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    1. It is the first time it has really hit me and I do think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had happened.

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  3. I've had my eye on this book. If I do come across a copy I'll read the afterward first now.

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  4. Really interesting review, if I read this one I'll remember to flick to the afterword first.

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  5. I felt the relationship was rushed here too - I didn't have time to connect with the characters. Even though I knew about the real life WWII story, I didn't realise this book was based on it while I was reading it. I picked up the book without really knowing anything about it apart from the love story set in WWII angle. Not my fave historical fiction by any means, but still a worthwhile read especially because of the final chapters.

    I think we had some similar thoughts on this one. :)

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    1. I thought we might have similar thoughts when I saw your rating on Goodreads.

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