Sunday, October 9, 2016

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin

It's October 1942, in Oslo, Norway. Fifteen-year-old Ilse Stern is waiting to meet boy-next-door Hermann Rod for their first date. She was beginning to think he'd never ask her; she's had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. 

But Hermann won't be able to make it tonight. What Ilse doesn't know is that Hermann is secretly working in the Resistance, helping Norwegian Jews flee the country to escape the Nazis. The work is exhausting and unpredictable, full of late nights and code words and lies to Hermann's parents, to his boss... to Ilse. 

And as life under German occupation becomes even more difficult, particularly for Jewish families like the Sterns, the choices made become more important by the hour: To speak up or to look away? To stay or to flee? To act now or wait one more day?

In this internationally acclaimed debut, Marianne Kaurin recreates the atmosphere of secrecy and uncertainty in World War II Norway in a moving story of sorrow, chance, and first love.

3/5 STARS 

I love historical fiction and will read any WW2 books I can get my hands on...
With that being said, this one wasn't as good as others I've read. While I enjoyed the book a lot, it didn't feel complete to me. There were so many perspectives that it came off a bit scattered. Like I get Hermann and Ilse's parts, but the family ones were built up to go no where... I think maybe if the book was longer and better developed I would have appreciated those parts more.

What I did love about this book though were the lessons that were so intricately weaved into the story. The words taught us that time is precious and to never hold back. It also gave us a great perspective of what survival looks like.

I'm torn. I keep going back and forth between 3 and 4 stars... On one hand it's history and that's important, but on another I craved more of that raw emotion that comes with war. I wanted to feel like the characters were in desperate situations and instead I felt like they were just going through the motions... riding the boat, sitting on the bed, stripping down... Where were the heart breaking scenes of turmoil? And also, why didn't we get more info on the paper that Hermann worked at... I guess looking at the book as a whole I just need to settle on a 3. I wanted to love this one, but it needed better execution.

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