Wednesday, April 08, 2020

53. Victoria's War

Victoria's War. Catherine A. Hamilton. 2020. 276 pages. [Source: Review copy] [World War II; world at war; adult fiction; historical fiction]

First sentence: The radio changed Victoria Darski's world. It brought swing jazz and blues into her living room. And on the first of September, when she sat on the high-backed sofa and reached for the brass knob on the cabinet radio, it brought news of war.

Premise/plot: Victoria's War is a fictionalized account based on the author's researching real women's experiences in Poland during the Second World War. The novel might be called Victoria's War, but it isn't just Victoria's war--it is everyone's war. And readers get multiple perspectives on the war from a woman's point of view. The first few chapters give readers a taste of what to expect: war brings cruelty, brutality, horrors, hardships, pain, shame, regret, guilt. If these first few chapters are too much, too intense, too painful...the rest of the novel will definitely prove overwhelming.

My thoughts: I love, love, love, love, love reading war stories. Not because I love war--I don't. But because I believe that every voice is worth hearing, every story worth telling. Especially when stories are researched, realistic, true to life. (I do read both fiction and nonfiction.) Just because it's painful and uncomfortable to witness doesn't mean I should turn away and dismiss. That being said, I am an adult. I would not by any means suggest handing intense, not-quite-age-appropriate war books to young readers and forcing them to bear witness to atrocities of the past. One's own mental health and mental state will also play a role in what you yourself seek to read. But I don't shy away from the darkness, the sorrow, the pain. I see you. I hear you.

Victoria's War has its darkness. I won't lie. But it's got a resilient, compassionate, empathetic, heroine who has gumption, courage, and strength.

I loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the ending. It was WORTH IT.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I like war books too, but I usually do find scenes of torture, etc too harrowing and skip over them.