Friday, August 1, 2014

ARC Book Review: The Winter Guest

Author: Pam Jenoff
Title: The Winter Guest
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: Aug 26, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn't be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day.

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena's concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades.

Review: I wanted to love this book, as I've always found books that take place in Europe during WWII to be very interesting. I couldn't really love the book, but I did like it.

There were too many things that needed more drama to make this a fabulous book.

The prologue gives you a cliffhanger that you have to slog through over 300 pages to get  to your resolution, and even then, it falls a little flat.

The twins, Helena and Ruth are the center of the story, but mostly Helena. She's a strong young woman, almost tomboy-ish in comparison to her sister.  Jenoff does a wonderful job at contrasting these two characters and how the war, or rather how one man pulls them apart.

Sam is an American paratrooper whose plane was shot down on their property. Helena discovers him and helps him return to health. Of course, they fall in love, which causes problems between the sisters.

Then there's the whole "Jewish" thing, which really revolves around Helena's mother, who is in a Jewish hospital. At one pivotal point, the family's whole heritage comes into question and things become more dangerous for them.

The betrayal in this book is kind of meh, but it does help to get the story rolling faster to the end. I never quite figured out if this was supposed to be a romance or a work of historical fiction. The romance was sweet, and though it definitely played a part in Helena's actions, it wasn't a powerful, heart stirring romance that I'd expect, when coming from this time period.

The epilogue finally brings closure to the mystery we learn in the prologue, but it was too little too late for me.

Rating:  3 flowers


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I had high expectations of this one. Bummer, that it felt flat for you. I think I am still going to give it a try if I get my hands on it, though.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I think it is still on Netgalley, which is where I snagged my review copy.

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