The author, Miranda Richmond Mouillot, is intrigued by her grandparents connection. Once married, with two children who don't seem to have or desire the details about their parents previous interactions, they are now as different as any two people could be. These elderly individuals live on different continents, both successful and flawed in their own rights, and are very reluctant to speak about the past. Understandably so, as they both survived a terrifying trek across the French countryside, with the possibility of arrest so close they could reach out and touch it more times than one could imagine possible. Why, though, will they speak about some aspects of their journey and struggles freely, even with a sense of accomplishment or pride, but change tone or topic so drastically when their only noteworthy romantic relationship is mentioned?
As Miranda travels abroad with a romantic notion of unraveling the mystery and preserving the story-line of her family's heritage, she struggles with the notion that perhaps she's romanticized her grandparents survival and connection to one another. This was a recurring theme which resonated deeply with me. I was taught in public school here in the US about the atrocities of the Holocaust, but the teachers were always careful to delicately garnish our education with stories of hope and survival. I recall having conversations with a friend where we'd pretend we were siblings in situations similar to Anne Franke. Hiding out, beating the odds, and watching it all from a "safe" distance with the lingering idea that a disaster was only a moment away. While I understand the educator's concerns about teaching about the revolting potential that human beings have to commit unthinkable acts, I certainly wish we'd followed up with more in depth research when I was in high school. So many of us fail to embrace the frailty and uncertainty of life; we fall far short of the gratitude with which we should poise ourselves daily.
I would highly recommend this book to any teenager or adult who would like to see a less textbook-like account of how the Holocaust has effects which are still very relevant today, or who is looking for a different type of romance to read. This isn't a sultry, lust-filled account, but it has strands of love woven deeply throughout it. Love, in reality, is not an emotion isolated for the opposite sex. We've often heard, "Love is a choice," and portions of this book flesh that out. I don't want to give away the plot, as this book has a unique mysterious air about it while reading it. This book really surprised me with its ease of reading balanced with depth of thought, emotion and relationship.
**In the interest of full disclosure: I received a copy of this book courtesy of Blogging for Books for the purpose of reviewing. I was not required to offer a positive review, my opinions are my own.