Friday, 2 November 2018
Review of "The Soldier's Girl" by Sharon Maas: WWII in the Alsace
Advertised as a tragic love affair this novel turns out as something rather different. You expect her to fall in love with a German while her childhood friend is in the resistance and she is send back to the Alsace as a spy. And then I wondered when that was happening.
What you can distil from this novel is the love of the writer for the area where she herself also spend many happy years. The part of the novel situated before the outbreak of war, where a child Sybil lives on a wine château, is the best part of the novel.
It was also interesting to read what effect the annexation had on the region, I knew it was swabbed between Germany and France several times but never would have imagined not only the renaming of streets but even of people. A name is so much part of your individuality!
I did know that there had been heavy fighting in the Ardennes but did not know about the Vosges and Alsace region.
But that love affair? No chemistry between her and the resistance fighter. He is described as dirty and stinking, That is all.
And the German officer? At first he is just annoying , unattractive and his mates are ridiculous. Then suddenly he shows a different side. Suddenly Sybil is in love. Right? But will you do what she does to him when you are in love? I do not think so. What happens had my stomach revolting. In her case I think I would have gone mad with guilt and horror. That guilt is mentioned but it is all done so clinical so distant so short. Apart from the fact that I felt very sorry for the man in the end the book seemed a love affair for a region but as a lovestory it failed.
The story left me completely cold apart from the heartbreaking scene towards the end which hunted me even in my dreams.