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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and harrowing tale that will stay with you.
While carrying out under cover activities for British intelligence in occupied France, Charlotte Gray goes in search of her lover - an RAF pilot who has gone missing in France. But don't be deceived, this is no straight forwrd love story. Her journey takes her through a country riven by anti-English sentiment and anti-semitism. Through the Jewish characters she...
Published on 29 Sep 2000

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another view of Occupied France...
I bought this book for the author rather than the story, 'Birdsong' being one of the most powerful books I have ever had the pleasure to read. It certainly is a different kind of story (and War) and I only realised the connection with one of the Birdsong characters when I was well into this book. I cannot say I found it a riveting read for most of the book, but what comes...
Published on 18 Jun 2001 by rogermike


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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Vastly overrated, 5 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
I can hardly believe that the critics raving about Charlotte Gray have read the same book as me. I found it dull, lifeless, boringly written and all the other things that have been mentioned by some people here already. For me, why it failed was that Faulkes took an amazing true story - that of the SOE who carried out incredibly dangerous missions which we now can hardly imagine - but chose to make his heroine a real wimp who insists on staying in France to moon over her boyfriend, not doing anything much to aid the war effort - why doesn't she go home and be someone's housekeeper there? The parts about the two little boys are heartbreaking, but relatively brief compared to all the nonsense about Charlotte, not to mention the very over-the-top tale of recovered memory which inflates a minor incident into something which transforms her life. I was so particularly disappointed with this book because most stories about resistance fighters are pretty basic thrillers with little real insight into how these people really managed to live such difficult and brave lives - that is what I wanted to read about. Finally, there were quite a few women in the real SOE and I'm sure they did more than just hang around waiting for their boyfriends. No matter what everyone says about Birdsong, I won't be reading it - Charlotte Gray has put me off Faulkes for life.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ambition not quite realised, 15 Feb 2005
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
This could be a great book in more capable hands. There is a good storyline but it's stretched over 500 pages when 200 would do. The character of Charlotte is not deep enough to fulfil her role as eponymous heroine. She is either physically or emotionally abused (she's not sure which - perhaps both are equal evils)but this does not come out in her personality which is adventurous and confident: In no way handicapped by her father or alleged depression.
The book is good on historical facts. I learned a lot about the French attitude to Naziism. I did not know that so many hated the British. There's a lot on concentration camps as well.
Although it stared out promising enough the pace was just too slow with 90% of the plot delayed until the last 100 or so pages.
And what was Charlotte doing confiding in a dirty old man like Lavade who spied on her in the bathroom and she says "disgusts" her. A bit kinky for her character I thought.
The ending was over sentimental, but I won't spoil it for you.
Perhaps Fauks will mature to fulfil his own ideas. But for now, Louis de Bernieres is streets ahead.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another love Story., 16 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
Mr Faulks is a right old romantic with a penchant for raunchy sex as we saw in Birdsong. That's ok but gets in the way of a good tale about partying in wartime London, training for undercover work and life in Vichy France which is a topic that deserves further coverage in fiction.
The heroine is a capable character and there must have been many like her.
The novel loses its way a bit when the heavies appear at the big house but picks up when the trains start heading north and the full horror of the Jews' fate becomes clear. Her flight from France might have been described at greater length because suddenly Charlotte is back in Britain and sorting out her problem with Dad. It all sort of peters out.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One man's meat ..., 14 Feb 2004
By 
G. Oldham - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
I am one of the people who did not like this book and can't really understand why others love it so much! It has to be said, however, that what Faulkes has written here about the two Jewish boys and the holocaust's effect on them is powerful, horrifying and enraging. I also found the reconciliation and eclaircissement between Charlotte and her father moving.
But the rest of it was rather a struggle. At times I wondered if Faulkes's word processor is set up to spot any noun that does not have an adjective with it - he scatters adjectives so liberally and pointlessy. As a typical example: (p277) "The door opened onto a gloomy hallway with a circular table at the foot of the stairs on which a black telephone was ringing." Why tell us the shape of the table and the colour of the phone? These details are irrelevant and add nothing to the writing. I kept saying 'get on with it!'
The first four pages will cause physicists to chuckle. On page 4 Gregory is diving towards the ground in his plane and we are told: "Gravity was starting to push his eyes back into their sockets ..." Sorry, SF, but it isn't gravity doing that (the force of gravity would be acting in the opposite direction: towards the earth towards which he is facing as he dives) it is their inertia and the acceleration of the plane. On page 3 SF reveals some very odd ideas about heat loss too.
I did not enjoy The Girl at the Lion D'Or either. Should I bother with Birdsong?
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heroine To Believe, 11 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
In Charlotte Gray we find at last a female character who is not obsessed with triviality but with her own self contentment. Perhaps this has to do with the setting or time-period but for a male character he has set the nuances of an aspect of femininity that is rarely expressed.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and predictable, 20 Oct 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Hardcover)
Following on from Birdsong I thought I was in for another cathartic experience. Sadly this was not the case. Did we care about Charlotte? Why did she bother to go looking for her 'lost love'? Oh so disappointing but a great cure for insomnia.
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5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Surely one of the worst books ever!, 13 Jan 2000
By 
A. Leadbetter (Newcastle upon Tyne, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
I rather enjoyed Birdsong but this book is one of the laziest, shallow books ever written.
The arrogance of Mr Faulks is appalling in his description of the fate of the Jewish boys; the deporting of Jews during the Second World War has been written about by many other, better writers who actually feel for their subject.
The plot is lazy in the extreme ...
A pathetic little book.
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7 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Emotional blackmail and lifeless leads, 26 Nov 1999
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
After the glory that was Birdsong, I was shocked at the depths Faulks plumbed to provide readers with the ultimate post-modern protagonist - one that does absolutely nothing and remains thoroughly indifferent to her inability to affect the horrors of the world around her. Charlotte's sole contribution to the world is advising the secret service to dye the pubic hair of agents in the future. The lack of regard which the author shows for the more heroic supporting characters is disturbing verging on misanthropic. The closing sections of Birdsong including the wonderfully realised birth scene is the perfect coda to the earlier scenes of despair and destruction. Compare this view of life over death with the closing scenes of Charlotte Gray following the two boys through their last few days. The description of the filth and degradation left me feeling nauseous and upset with the author who seemed to present them with little feeling and a prurient desire to produce extreme emotional discomfort in the reader. I finished the book feeling angry and cheated.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A weak presentation of a great novel, 22 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Audio Cassette)
Luckily, Faulks's great writing just about survives the treatment dealt it by reader Sam West. Flippant, lacking in understanding and just plain uninvolved, West does his best to make Charlotte Grey sound like a page from Exchange And Mart. A more mature actor, or at the very least, a less grating voice would have been preferable, but even so I liked the book.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Groan !, 27 Mar 2010
By 
Mme L. C. Chilcott "Ladyshay" (Haute Vienne, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
What was all the fuss about. Nothing new. Predictable! Boring! Hated it!
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Charlotte Gray
Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (Paperback - 1 July 1999)
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