Sunday 24 May 2015

What we did for love by Natasha Farrant

What we did for love: resistance, heartbreak, betrayal by Natasha Farrant (Scarlet Voyage, 2014)
Originally published as: The things we did for love (Faber and Faber, 2012)

ISBN 978-1-62324-028-8

3 Parts (February – June 1944); 208 pages

Subjects: World War Two, France, Resistance, young adult fiction (Year 10-13)

(This is the cover of the book I read, but there are several other designs.) 

"A story of love, sacrifice, betrayal and redemption, set against one of the most tragic and devastating episodes of French World War II history. France 1944. 
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..."

That’s taken from Natasha Farrant’s website, where you can also read a sample chapter.

The Bookbag review begins: "There are many kinds of love in this moving story, from family loyalty and friendship to patriotism, but what really preoccupies the two central characters, Arianne and Luc, is the passion and agony of first love."

Kirkus reviews says: "Set against the backdrop of World War II, Farrant’s first for teens... captures the whirlwind of first love and the complications of taking action during a most dangerous time… A worthwhile addition to historical romance that honors one real French town’s tragic and true event.

I think this Guardian review is a good one. It makes some pertinent points about plot, motivation, readership and language, including the dialogue, which I noticed as I read the book. Some of the phrases – like “drop dead gorgeous”, encountered very early on pg 10 - seem too contemporary, and like the reviewer, I didn’t get a feel for any French phrases or patterns of speech.

Author’s website
On her website, Natasha Farrant saysI get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.”

Things I didn’t know
The final event in this book is based on something that did actually happen. The Afterword explains how “on 10 June 1944, at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich really did enter the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane and ordered all the inhabitants to assemble on the market square, under the pretext of checking their papers."

The village of Oradour-sur-Glane was situated 22 km north-west of Limoges; you can visit its museum, the Centre de la mémoire, or read more about it online, but it is a sad tale.

Have you read it?
Have you read this book? Let me know what you think!

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