Vianne Mauriac is a French woman whose husband, Antoinne, has gone off to war to fight the Germans. When the Nazis occupy France, her home is requisitioned by a Nazi captain. Vianne has no choice but to stay in the house with the Nazi or risk losing her home altogether. Her teenage sister, Isabelle, makes her displeasure all too well known and places Vianne and her daughter, Sophie, in danger due to her impetuous nature. Isabelle leaves the family home and joins the Resistance.
I’ve read many, many books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the Nazis and all of the many atrocities committed by them during World War II. I kept feeling that I had read this book before, mainly because the author included each and every atrocity and WWII story in this book. There were parts that just didn’t seem realistic. This is supposed to be set in a small quiet town; however, the whole war seems to be centered on this small quiet town. It must have been quite an important little town for all that happened there. Certainly the actions of the Nazis were horrendous. However, the melodramatic tone taken by the author gave a soap opera feeling to this book. I’ve heard so many readers say that the ending was so moving; however, I must say that I shook my head in disbelief as I read it. Too much of this book just didn’t ring true to me. I could give quite a lengthy list of what struck me as unrealistic but I don’t want to give plot away for those who haven’t read the book yet.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like the book at all because I did. The most moving parts to me were the sections involving Rachel’s son, Ari. I applaud the courage that these sisters found deep inside themselves and their bravery. There certainly were suspenseful moments. However, the inconsistencies and unrealistic parts jarred my mood and brought me out of the story. The thought “that doesn’t make sense” occurred to me far too often.
Quite possibly I’ve just read too many books of this type. However, I thought “All the Light We Cannot See” was a beautiful book and so very moving. It’s hard to give a just-okay rating to a book of this nature since we all do need to be reminded of what happened to the Jewish people in WWII and books such as this are so important. However, I don’t feel that the author did justice to such a terrible time in human history.