Last month it was my turn to choose a book in the bookclub I attend. And yes we do talk about the book... for a good five minutes too!
This book had come up as a popular book to read this year and after reading it, I could see why. Now it's not as heavy and graphic as Schindler's List but being set during the war when the Nazis invade Paris and based on the lives of two young people surviving this time, it has it's confronting moments.
The story follows the life of Marie - Laure, a blind girl from the age of six living in Paris with her father and travelling to work with him everyday to the Museum of Natural History. It is in this Museum and her little apartment, she learns not only to be independent but discovers there is light and beauty in her dark world. As the war closes in and they are no longer safe, she and her father escape to her crazy uncle's mansion in the walled city by the sea. For Marie - Laure, her life takes on many thrilling and frightening turns especially when she discovers a hidden and invaluable diamond her father has entrusted her with after he is captured.
While we live the war with Marie - Laure we are taken to a young boy called Werner. He is German and lives in an orphanage with his sister. He knows that on his fourteenth birthday he will be taken to work in the mines so spends the years waiting out his sentence. The discovery of a radio and a special gift to build and fix transmitters, leads him on a very different path and straight into a Nazi academy. He knows he is different from the other boys but doesn't realise that in the near future, his talent will not only save him but the blind girl in the mansion, hiding the diamond and the secret radio transmitter.
This is a book that is bittersweet until the end. It is full of unexpected twists and coincidences, otherwise known as fate.