Inspired by YA Shot and having had the opportunity to see Natasha Farrant discuss some of her research methods and how she began telling this story, I was pretty excited to read this book. The story follows Luc and Arianne, nourishing a budding romance in a village called Samaroux, France in the closing days of World War Two. Farrant describes village life in WWII very well; the two main taverns divided by differing loyalties, the village Pastor and the gossips who know everything about every one else. Luc, reeling from a dark family secret feels it is his duty to join the resistance and help to end the German occupation, this drive is where this love story turns into a tragedy. Arianne has already lost her Mother to illness, and her Father to a POW camp. She is your average young woman, looking after her mischievous younger brother, Paul (who was my favourite character actually) and talking about boys with her cousin Solange. However, their reality is that they are living under Nazi occupation, and a catastrophic event is about to completely change their lives.
Based on real events from WWII in a village in the South-West of France called Oradour-sur-Glane, the culmination of this novel is heart breaking, even more so because the events described in this novel are true. Farrant describes the event in a prologue, encouraging readers to find out more and even visit Oradour-sur-Glane, which has been preserved just as the Nazis left it on the 10th of June 1944.
At it’s heart this novel is a love story, one which any wide-eyed young reader would adore, however there are some raw elements of fear, hatred, guilt and the very base nature of being human in war time that give the story real depth.
By Amanda Patterson (Ruislip Manor Library)