In 1942, a small French girl locks her little brother in a hidden cabinet, promising she’ll return for him soon. The French police have come for her family and she doesn’t know how else to keep him safe; she is too naive to suspect where they are really going. In the modern day, Julia’s life in France is eroding around her but she has one thing to cling to: what happened to the men, women, and children who were whisked away in July 1942? Did any survive? More intriguingly, what does it have to do with her?
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this book, either – I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. As you probably know, I try to avoid spoilers of any kind and go into a book knowing virtually nothing of what it’s about, aside from a cursory glance at the back cover. I read reviews, but by the time I read the book in question I’ve usually forgotten any plot details. In this case, I’m pleased with my avoidance, because I just loved the way this book came together and I wouldn’t have wanted it spoiled. In the beginning I had no idea what Julia was doing in the story, but the dual narrators fit together beautifully and I was very pleased with the end and how it all wrapped up. I also thought the author did a great job keeping the strands separate until they were intertwined; each section was written to fit its period. Yes, the story was extremely sad and haunting, but that only makes it even more important considering its content.
I’d definitely recommend this book. I’m not sure what category to place it in, but it’s a beautiful work of literature that shouldn’t be missed.
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