This piece of historical fiction has been on best seller lists and promoted by bookstores this year. After devouring it in two days, I can see why. The story is set in both France and Germany during the second World War. The narration alternates between Marie-Laure, a young blind girl and Werner, an orphaned German boy with a talent for fixing radios. The characters live through the loss and adversity of war as their stories are artfully woven together.
Marie Laure and her devoted father lived in France. Her father worked in the museum and used his spare time as a craftsman building models of miniature houses depicting their neighbourhood to teach Marie Laure independence despite her lack of sight. As the war advanced, they fled their home and moved in with her Great Uncle who had been mentally impacted during World War I.
Werner lived with his younger sister with a foster mother and was destined to work in the mines where his father had been killed. He had a quick mind and a thirst for knowledge. He found a discarded radio and his talents, became known for fixing radios which led to his selection for a school to prepare young boys for Germany’s war effort. His education was not only in radio intelligence but he quickly learned of the cruelty of others during war.
Although I would like to share more, I don’t want to ruin the story. This novel is an important read highlighting the the goodness in people despite the horrible circumstances of war. As the stories meet, not everyone has a happy ending but I appreciated how the author provided an overview of the trajectory of the characters after the war ended. This book is deserving of the praise and recommendations it has been given!