Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The French War Bride by Robin Wells

Amelie is ninety-one and she lives in a nursing home.  She has an open door policy so friends can drop in and visit.  But she never expected to see her husband's ex-fiance walk through the door.  She wasn't surprised by her words, though.  "I never knew what he saw in you."

Berkley and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It is being published today.

Amelie agrees to tell Kat how they met and why they married but she wants to do it in her own way.  She does wonder why she cares and Kat tells her she has cancer and only has six months to live and she wants this resolved.  For two women who never met before and don't like each other much, it's almost traumatic reliving the old days.  The pain feels fresh.

Amelie starts with herself as a child and it takes a lot of pages to cover her younger life.  It's history I hate to read.  War is ugly and so many innocent people get hurt.  World War II was especially bad for Jews.  You get the story up close and personal from her point of view.  It's very sad but it was life back then.

As the story goes on, Kat begins to realize that she's been very selfish her entire life.   She's never suffered any hardship (except losing her fiance) and she always wanted more.  She had a good life and her husband kept her on a pedestal, honoring her.  But did he love her?  Did she love him?  Did she love anyone but herself?

Jack was trying to get Amelie and the baby to the US so they could find refuge with family.  The only way he could do that was to marry her.  He intends to deliver her and then they will get the marriage annulled.  However, the aunt and uncle aren't at the address they lived before; there was a fire and the apartment unit had burned beyond retrieval.  They moved, no one knew where.  So he get them on a train and they are heading to her dead husband's parents.  Unfortunately, her net of lies becomes unwoven on the way.  The baby is her girlfriend's, not hers.  The parents he's taking her to meet are the ones he told the priest about in confession.  She was in there despairing over what to do next and heard him.  So she has no dead husband either.  He's horrified by her lies and by what he's let her draw him into.

This reads like real life.  Amelie is doing what she needs to do.  She's willing to sacrifice even more so Jack can go back to his girlfriend.  

I enjoyed the read and loved the ending.  This was well worth taking the time to read it.  These characters will be playing in my head for a while before they go home.  Give it a try!

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