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on 28 April 2012
In a small village in South-West France in the final years of World War II, the Resistance fight against the occupying Germans. Against this backdrop, Arianne falls madly in love with Luc, who has returned to the village after a long time away. They seem perfect for each other - but Luc has a dark secret in his past, and is desperate to make up for it, leading him to become involved with the fight against the Nazis. When someone else becomes jealous of Arianne's feelings for him, tragedy seems inevitable.

It was, in retrospect, a mistake reading this straight after Code Name Verity, my favourite book of the year so far. Not for the reason I half-expected, though. I nearly left it for a while because I was worried that no other World War II novel could compare to the fabulous CNV - but this one holds its own. The reason reading them in succession was a mistake is that I ended up crying so much over a period of a couple of days that my eyes took ages to recover.

It's truly heart-rending, it has a wonderfully drawn cast of characters - I fell completely in love with about six different people at various points in the book - and Farrant's writing style is utterly beautiful. Massive recommendation as one of my top few of the year so far. I appreciate this is a rather short review - as always, with the books I really loved I find it very difficult to say too much because I'm always petrified of spoiling them - but it really is one you should rush out and buy.
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on 21 June 2012
This novel is so sad, in the vein of novels like The Book Thief by Martin Zusak, this novel is really really tear-jerkingly sad, all the more so because it's based on true events. Although the characters themselves aren't real, it's not hard to believe that some of the individuals who went through the experiences in France in the later years of World War Two felt the same things and experienced the same emotions.

Luc and Ari fall desperately and passionately in love, at the worst possible time. The Nazis are on their way and the French Resistance are resolute but no match for the German forces. Luc gets drawn into the dangerous world of the Resistance with disastrous consequences whilst Ari pines for him. As well as Luc and Ari other key characters include Ari's fun-loving and amiable cousin Solange and Romy who is not all he seems to be and becomes thoroughly dislikeable.

There is no deep characterisation of any of the characters in my opinion. They all seem symbolic and representative of an element of society affected by the trials of world war and how harrowing it can become. The italicised sections of the novel are the most emotional, especially towards the end when we learn who is `speaking' these words.

This novel is a great accomplishment portraying an interesting and poignant period of history in an accessible and interesting way which meant I finished it in about two sittings. The love story between Luc and Ari adds a touch of realism and romance to a dark period of history.

Brilliant novel which delicately and cleverly discusses an essential area of European history.
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on 21 January 2013
I don't often read historical fiction but I've been very successful with some historical YA recently and I felt ready to give The Things We Did For Love by Natashsa Farrant a chance. I'd read one or two reviews of it when it was published in hardback last year, but thankfully, when it came down to reading the book, I found that I didn't have any previous knowledge of the storyline that might have spoilt things for me.

What strikes me the most about this book is that it is based on a true story. I find that really harrowing as some quite horrific things happen during The Things We Did For Love and the author has written a short piece at the end of the novel letting the reader know at which points she has fictionalised the account and what she believes did occur in France during WWII according to eyewitness accounts. I found that to be quite chilling and it really made me stop and think.

While this book is mostly a love story between two teenagers, Luc and Arriane, during the French resistance in World War II, I found myself not particularly being emotionally invested in their romantic relationship. I liked both Luc and Arriane and I really liked their original relationship as friends who connect over their shared loss. But after years of separation, when Luc and Arriane are reunited and things are back on track romantically for them, there just seemed to be something lacking in their relationship. I don't know quite what it was missing, but either way, I still enjoyed the story that is built around them enough to carry on reading. The book isn't that long at all, and I liked reading of war-time France and how these teenagers spend their time and getting a feel for what it would have been like for people like Luc and Arriane.

I found Luc's need to get involved in the war to be very believeable, even though it endangers his own life. Arriane's little brother really surprised me with the ways in which he involves himself in gaining knowledge of those around him and using that knowledge to his own benefit. And while I could see how Arriane was very unsure of Luc and their tenuous relationship, I felt the lengths that she went to in order to keep him from joining up felt really honest. I was expecting the 'betrayal' by another character to be of a different nature and I found myself really surprised by the way in which things end up.

I'm really glad that I read this book. It was enlightening, reading of this small town in France where nothing much ever happens and how things changed very suddenly and dramatically during World War II.
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on 6 January 2013
I loved it. I cried so many times and was deeply touched. It was all so dramatic and engaging. I would happily read it thousands of times over. I don't have a favourite part - I loved it all. I am missing not reading the things we did for love. I would recommend it to young adults and teenagers.
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on 25 April 2013
found this book a bit boring maybe just me as I enjoy most books but did not enjoy this at all so not had another for a wee while.
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on 2 March 2012
This is the third book by this author I have read and was just as engrossing as her previous two. Hard to put down once you have started it - it's obviously written from the heart.
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2012
I'd wanted to read a YA book set in World War Two for some time but didn't really know of any titles until I put a request out on Twitter and was flooded with recommendations. My desire to read about war came after watching the movie Pearl Harbour on TV (don't judge me, I know the dialogue is crap but I love the soundtrack) and wishing there was a YA story like that. I didn't quite get what I wanted with The Things We Did for Love by Natasha Farrant but it was still a beautifully told story, full of youth and innocence.

The Things We Did for Love is set in a sleepy Nazi occupied French village and features heavily on two main characters - Luc and Arianne who fall in love despite the difficult circumstances. Luc is a strong willed young man who gets himself tangled up with the resistance and I don't blame him. There's a war going on and he wants to help his country, his people but of course, this is fraught with danger. Watching from the sidelines is Romy, a young man with issues who fell for Arianne when she was nice to him one day and now he's got it in his head that she should be with him. With everything that's going on, all the secrets, the lies, the risky behaviour, now add in a particularly jealous love rival and you've got trouble with a capital T.

This book is a romantic tragedy and you can see that from the setting alone. This is war and so it's never going to end well. I will say however that I was impressed with the ending of the book which was not predictable and there was a little twist I didn't see coming which was very clever indeed. The book reminded me of a story I read back when I was ACTUALLY a teenager and I could definitely see this being turned into a Sunday afternoon drama.

I loved the historical side of things and despite the throes of war; it was nice to see the human side of the soldiers portrayed. I particularly enjoyed the blossoming romance between Luc and Arianne and how their youth and innocence shone throughout the novel. It's quite refreshing to read a standalone with no awful cliff hanger to worry about as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this heartbreaking story set around real world events, a story of innocence yes but in the end, everyone was guilty of something.
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on 19 March 2012
Do you ever think that perhaps the afterword should be written at the front of the book rather than the back? In this case, I really do think it would have aided my enjoyment of this book so much better. On reading the afterword, I realised that although the characters are fictional, the setting and the events were mainly true. The ending of the book was extremely sad and I found it difficult to understand why it would end in such a way - until I read the afterword and realised that reality doesn't always have a happy ending.

There were parts of this story I enjoyed and parts that I didn't, so I feel like I am sitting on the fence when it comes to this book. I was drawn to the love story that had blossomed between Luc and Arianne and I would have liked to have seen that developed in more depth. I felt the growing relationship was rushed a little in the first part of the book.
I loved the historical element of the story. The WW2 period seems to be coming a lot more popular in YA in recent months and it was good to see it from the perspective of the French. I think historical YA books like this help to bring that time period to life for teenagers.

I could understand Luc's need to join the Maquis; to watch so many of your own people suffer must have been excruciating. Living in a time and country where we don't see the ravages of war close at hand, I can only imagine how that would have made me feel.

I felt the characters had room to grow within the story and I never felt I truly got to know them. The only one who really stood out for me was Romy and he came across as a rather weak willed young man on the verge of having a restraining order placed against him.

The beginning of the book seemed a little disjointed to me and I found there were conversations which were unnecessary and didn't really add to the story. As the book progressed the story improved and you really felt all that the villagers were suffering. The horrific treatment of the town folk by the Germans made my stomach turn. The ending of the book was very traumatic. To see people lives treated so casually was abysmal but so true of the crimes carried out by the Germans during the war.

On reading the afterword written by the author, the author mentioned that she had given the details of the events of the town sparingly, unfortunately I felt that this was the downfall of this story. Not that I wanted to see such atrocities written about, but I felt that they may have given the story more depth.

This book was an interesting read and will definitely appeal to YA historical lovers. Although I enjoyed it, I would love to see the story expanded. I would have loved to get to know the characters more at the beginning of the book, seen them together as friends before war created barriers between them.
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