My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical, Romance
Young lovers Josef and Lenka meet, fall in love, and marry just as WWII begins. They love each other, but due to circumstances out of Josef’s control (not Lenka’s, though…), they are separated. Without giving anything away, both Josef and Lenka live through some very difficult things.
Lenka’s experiences are incredibly sad and intriguing, but the chapters from her POV felt like an entirely separate book from Josef’s. After finishing the novel, I read an interview where the author said that she first wrote Lenka’s story, then decided to make Lenka fall in love. So she threw Josef and luuvv in there. And honestly, it showed.
Lenka is a strong and caring person and we got along just fine. I loved hearing about her and the things she saw. But then I would suddenly remember, “Wait a second, she’s supposed to be pining for Josef right now… She hasn’t mentioned Josef in a few chapters. Don’t you remember Josef, Lenka? You know, the love of your life???”
After their separation, I started feeling like Josef was obsessively stuck in the past and Lenka had moved on with no problem. Like Josef was some crush she had in middle school and not her actual husband.
Like I said, Lenka’s experiences are so interesting, but if you’re looking for a life-altering love story, this isn’t it. It’s more of a story about two different people who live through difficult things and who happen to have been infatuated with each other at a young age.
Also, switching between first-person past and present tense annoys me and that happened a couple times in this novel. It always threw me off. But complaining about such things makes me sound petty so pretend like I whispered that part.
If you love WWII novels, this book is worth the read. Don’t expect to find your next book boyfriend, though.