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I can’t remember when I heard of News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail DeWitt, but I was excited to read it because it was a WWII book that wasn’t about a Jewish family. Instead, it’s about a French family who suffers a tragic loss. That loss reverberates throughout the family for generations to come.
About News of Our Loved Ones by Abigail DeWitt
News of Our Loved Ones is about some of the residents in Normandy, France during WWII. The book especially focuses on one family, the Delsalle family. This family has eight members–five children, a mother, a stepfather, and a grandmother–living under one roof.
The book is told from the perspective of two of the children as well as from various other members of the town. Each character gets their own chapter, with one child getting two chapters. Two of the chapters are narrated years later by one of the grandchildren. The war, even though she was not alive for it, has impacted her greatly. She routinely listens to her mother tell the story of the war and their great family tragedy. She also discovers there are some family secrets that aren’t revealed to later generations for years after the war.
For more books about WWII set in France, consider reading
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My Thoughts on This Book
When I started reading this book, I had a hard time getting into it. In the first chapter, the author seemed to just jump into the story, and I had no idea who the young narrator was. Then, the next chapter, there was a new narrator, and I had to get into the story again.
The narrators shift throughout the book–each chapter is told by a different narrator, and we rarely hear from the same character again. Unfortunately, for some chapters, I would be almost done with the chapter before I knew who narrated.
While I liked hearing other people’s perspectives, there wasn’t enough continuity for me. I would have preferred hearing the entire novel from only two or three characters’ perspectives.
Plus, hardly any of the characters were faithful to their spouses. I understand that affairs do happen, but to so many of the characters?
While I appreciated the different perspective that News of Our Loved Ones gave on WWII, there were too many parts I disliked.
I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.