Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Author: Sebastian Faulks
Source: My parents
Days to Read: 2 weeks

I don't think I read the back of this book before I started it so judging from the cover (a silhouette of a WWI soldier) I was expecting to dive into a heavy war novel. Boy was I wrong (initially)! The first part of the book is narrated by Stephen, an English businessman who is visiting a small French town in order to learn about the manufacturing business. He stays with a man named Azaire who owns and runs factory. While living in Azaire's home, Stephen is drawn to Azaire's wife Isabelle. After finding out that her age and the fact that she is Azaire's second wife and step mother to his two children, Stephen's interest in her peaks. The two have a whirlwind affair that leads to Stephen and Isabelle moving away and ends with Isabelle leaving Stephen. Shortly after starts Part 2 of the book in which the reader is transported several years ahead and Stephen is now fighting in World War I.

This part of the book is a stark contrast to the first. While the beginning of the book is full of passion and romance, the second part, which takes place several years later during World War I, is dark and disconsolate. Stephen has become hardened and rarely thinks of his passionate love affair with Isabelle. While returning to the same French town on a brief leave from the front lines, Stephen meets Isabelle’s sister, Jeanne, and then arranges to see Isabelle. A lot of time has passed and things have changed for both Stephen and Isabelle…

Along side this story line is another told by Stephen’s grand daughter. I didn’t really feel that this added anything to the story and I would have preferred if these parts were left out and it just stayed with one time line. But an awesome book!

I found out that it was made into a TV series but I don’t think it has played in Canada. I would love to watch an episode to see if the characters are how I pictured them!
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