I know this is fiction, I do... but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen. It doesn't mean that there weren't unbelievable brave people like Vianne and Isabelle in those times. People who risked their lives to help others, people who died to help others.
WW2 is an example of the worst of people. How people are capable of treating others. How people can be taught to hate. But it is also an example of the best of people. How even the most scared can rise up and stand up for what they believe in and be a brave hero. How people can come together and look out for each other even when they have nothing.
I've ready many books set in this time before, but Kristin Hannah managed to immerse me so deep in this world, that I have never had this reaction before. I cried a lot and my heart hurts.
I love that she gave us two contrasting main characters. One who was so strong in her conviction and braver than many of the men (sometimes pretty stupid too), and then another who was scared and whose only goal in the beginning was to protect her child. I understand Vianne. I know how being a mother can change you and make you do anything to protect your child. I think also that Vianne didn't really understand the scope of the war, what her actions (or non-reactions) could mean. Before you judge her or call her a coward, try and put yourself in her shoes.
I'd like to say I'd recommend this book for everyone, but if you're pretty sensitive this books is going to break you. I like to think I can handle anything and this book almost broke me... it definitely chipped my heart. I'll never forget it.