21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Rich but deeply disturbing - not for the faint-hearted,
By A Customer
This review is from: Charlotte Gray (Paperback)
Having only ever read (and enjoyed) Faulks' "Birdsong" before I looked forward to meeting Charlotte Gray. I was not disappointed.
This is a moving and disturbing story of one young woman's experiences as an undercover courier in France during the 1940's. Charlotte comes over almost as an anti-hero, she is at once sophisticated yet naive, caring yet callous, brave yet timid (or foolhardy?). Although the main plot revolves around her attempts to track down her English lover, reported as missing in action after being shot down over France, this is NOT a love story. The imagery created by the narrative puts you deep in the heart of war-torn France, with all the personal conflicts and emotions of the people involved on all sides. The sub-plot around the two Jewish boys, tragically separated from their parents ... is the most moving part of the book. Told through their eyes, we feel their innocence and the way they instinctively trust and follow any adult they come into contact with, secure in the mistaken belief that they will one day be reunited with their parents. WE know what is happening to them - THEY don't. Their final scene ... almost made me cry. We should all be ashamed of man's inhumanity to man at times of war. Charlotte too, in tracing the boys to a "work camp", herself naively believes that the boys will only to put to work. We never know if she realises at the end exactly how far from the truth she was ...
The book's only flaw is the half-hearted attempt to examine Charlotte's relationship with her father. I felt it had no real bearing on the development of her character ...
All in all, a great read. But prepare to be traumatised, and have some misconceptions about the French Resistance movement shattered.