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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In this Hospitable Land
This was a very moving and gripping book. I could not put it down. I liked the characters
of the family who were fleeing the Nazis in the second world war and felt by the end
that I knew them personally. I believe it was based on a true story and I find it incredible.
I was very sad to learn at the end that one of the main characters Denise died in...
Published 14 months ago by Margaret Masterman

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting novel which sits awkwardly between fact & fiction
The author is at pains to point out that this book, although it is intended to be a novel, is based on true events. This causes a problem, as the author is not in my view,an accomplished novelist, but the story he has to tell is a fascinating one. A jewish family, forced to flee from nazi occupied Belgium seek refuge among the people of the Cevennes region of France. The...
Published on 26 Mar 2011 by J. Aitken


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting novel which sits awkwardly between fact & fiction, 26 Mar 2011
By 
J. Aitken (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
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The author is at pains to point out that this book, although it is intended to be a novel, is based on true events. This causes a problem, as the author is not in my view,an accomplished novelist, but the story he has to tell is a fascinating one. A jewish family, forced to flee from nazi occupied Belgium seek refuge among the people of the Cevennes region of France. The local people are supportive of the family and hire them in ever more remote areas as the war progresses. The two breadwinners end up working for the Maquis although one is morally compromised by his conscientious objectors stance.

All this is told in the form of a blockbuster ( nearly six hundred pages long ) which suffers from some stilted and unrealistic dialogue. How much better this book would have been if it had been written as a factual account. However the story is an important one and has significant insights into the working of the Maquisards during the conflict. So recommended for those who have an interest in the subject, and the story is well worth exploring because of its factual base.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story but....., 8 April 2011
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Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is a difficult book to review as I would not want to praise it excessively but I do think it is worth reading. The story it tells is engrossing - a family of ten Jews escape to France when the bombing of Brussels in l940 make it imperative for them to leave Belgium, only for France to fall in its turn to the German army. After travelling through France the family finally ends up in a rural farming area where they settle on an abandoned farm. The heroic efforts made by their courageous Huguenot neighbours firstly to help them settle and - when it becomes necessary - to hide them are wonderful. I don't think much has ever been written about this and it was this historical aspect of the book I found the most absorbing and interesting. The author based his fictional characters on the true story of his wife's family and he certainly had the basis for a great novel. Unfortunately he is not a particularly good writer. The characters are wooden and do not come alive on the page, their conversations stilted and at times the refugees come across as extremely sorry for themselves so it is quite difficult to feel much empathy with them.[Of course their self pity is hardly surprising under the circumstances but one never feels that Anne Frank, in a far worse situation, is sorry for herself]. Comparisons are not kind but it was impossible not to compare Lymar Brock's book with Irene Nemirovsky's 'Suite Francaise' because, although his story is as well worth reading as hers, he does not have her gift for recounting events. fjs
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, overlong telling., 12 April 2011
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bookworm8 "bookworm8" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Based on true experiences in WW2, this account will engage readers with an interest in that period, provided they do not mind the rather clunky writing style.
This really grated on me at first - rather forced use of alliteration and personalities described in one way and shown to act in a totally opposite way, but perseverance overcame that and I eventually did want to know what happened to the family concerned. Their story is interesting and - considering the on-going issues of refugee - the theme is still relevant today.
At times frustrating, at other times almost touching, its for you if you are a determined reader and interested in the period - if you are impatient or have no interest in the topic - probably not for you.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Idealised version of a true war story, 28 Mar 2011
By 
Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a novel by Lynmar Brock Jr. Based on actual events that occurred in his family during their flight from the Nazi invasion of Brussels in 1940. The main protagonist is Andre Sauverin who was a Professor of Science at the Free University of Brussels. When the Germans arrive, invading neutral Belgium - announcing their arrival with air raids, he decides that as a Jew - he and his family will not be safe.

They are lucky in part, as they do have money and a large Buick that can accommodate his family, his brothers and their parents. This is then the story of their flight from Belgium to South France and the hospitality, friendship and hardship they encounter. Whilst it is based on war, there is very little about the war as such. They do get involved with the resistance in the form of the Macqui, but as Andre is a pacifist this sits fairly uncomfortably on his shoulders. Not so his brother Alex - who is portrayed as a constant contrast to his more measured brother. The story is really about survival and triumph over adversity and what seems like an almost unbelievable acceptance of outsiders by the people of the Cevennes; with a war narrative as a guiding parameter.

So why only three stars, first there is the writing style of Brock, it reminded me of Victorian melodrama in the way every event in the beginning is described in monumental terms, with an over liberal use of exclamation marks! If you see what I mean and I found this a bit Enid Blyton and a bit unnecessary. Phrases like `I am the Professor!', really do not need to be underlined. Also there is the families arrogance at the fact that the French and British are not doing enough to help them, despite the fact they are running away - this may have been the case but does not do much to illicit sympathy for the main characters, which has to be the main reason for what is really a labour of love.

At the early stages I was reminded of a production of `The Diary of Anne Frank', that was staged on Broadway and was so badly acted; that when the Germans come on stage, the audience would shout `She's in the attic!' But it does improve as the `novel' progresses. This really does not have the depth to be called a novel either, but that really is an artistic point.

Also the way he describes people's speech is all over dramatic people `explode', `bark', or `whine'. There is no subtlety; he feels that every single euphemism has to be explained as though his audience were children. Then there is the lack of credibility in the actual story. Nearly everywhere they go they are not only well treated but seem to have gone through some sort of beatification process as people hold them in such reverence, the Pastor meets Andre's mother and..'He felt certain he would never forget the warmth of her touch nor the penetrating look of understanding and appreciation in her eyes'. Whilst I would like that to have been the case, it stretches credulity as this is not an isolated incident.

There is also criticism of the French for their colony in Djibouti, which whilst justified comes across as lame and hypocritical considering the worst atrocities anywhere were committed by the Belgian's in the Congo. Also a semi - xenophobia with lines like `No Frenchman would ever hesitate to put his hand inside my bra'.

As the story proceeds the style does improve and I started to feel more in tune with the narrative, and the exclamation marks dies down and some well observed objectivity started to creep in. It wasn't a case of too little too late as I feel this is the sort of book that would appeal to a great many people. But not a war novel as such and one that requires some commitment at just under 600 pages. I much preferred `The Forgotten Soldier',Forgotten Soldier (Cassell Military Paperbacks) but if you want a gentle adventure with moments of light action and no swearing what so ever (except `merde!'), this might be for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In this Hospitable Land, 29 Sep 2013
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This review is from: In This Hospitable Land (Kindle Edition)
This was a very moving and gripping book. I could not put it down. I liked the characters
of the family who were fleeing the Nazis in the second world war and felt by the end
that I knew them personally. I believe it was based on a true story and I find it incredible.
I was very sad to learn at the end that one of the main characters Denise died in 1952,
It is so sad to think she died so soon after surviving such ordeals but I guess not
surprising.

I also found this very interesting from the point of view of learning about the history
and about Belgium and France at that time.

One difficulty I did have was in seeing the map of the family's journey, it was very
small and faint on Kindle and I would really like to be able to look at it more thoroughly
comparing with modern day maps.

Many thanks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In This Hospitable Land [Kindle Edition], 8 Nov 2013
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This review is from: In This Hospitable Land (Kindle Edition)
THIS IS A STORY BASED ON TRUE HAPPENING IN WW2. FANTASTIC STORY OF A FAMILIES STRUGGLE DURING THE WAR, AND THE PEOPLE WHO HELPED THEM. A MUST READ FOR FANS OF WAR BOOKS.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 4 Nov 2013
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brilliant. wish I had read the first one first. I will now have to back up and read from the beginning but I don't mind as I am enjoying it so much
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 7 Oct 2013
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Not a book I would normally chose - I normally go for thrillers - but was attracted to this by the outline and was not disappointed. An eye opening account of a Jewish families experience in the second world war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 19 Sep 2013
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I enjoyed this book for the geographical detail but did,nt get very involved with the four main characters.The descriptions of France were true to the region and I was very interested in the political aspect of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting, 11 Sep 2013
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A very good read, most interesting. Makes you think how people had to live through the war time years Excellent
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In This Hospitable Land
In This Hospitable Land by Lynmar Brock Jr
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