Thursday, June 18, 2015

REVIEW: The Major's Daughter

The Major's Daughter
by J. P. Francis

Publisher: Plume
Page Count: 400
Format: Paperback

How got: Personal library

First attention getter: forbidden love in WWII American POW camp; always a sucker for forbidden romance


From GoodReads:

Like Snow Falling on Cedars, a stirring tale of wartime love

April, 1944. The quiet rural village of Stark, New Hampshire is irrevocably changed by the arrival of 150 German prisoners of war. And one family, unexpectedly divided, must choose between love and country.

Camp Stark is under the command of Major John Brennan, whose beautiful daughter, Collie, will serve as translator. Educated at Smith and devoted to her widowed father, Collie is immediately drawn to Private August Wahrlich, a peaceful poet jaded by war. As international conflict looms on the home front, their passion blinds them to the inevitable dangers ahead.

Inspired by the little-known existence of a real World War II POW camp,The Major’s Daughter is a fresh take on the timeless theme of forbidden love.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 3 Stars

This author evidently knows how to set a scene. His phrasing is lyrical and almost poetic, with phrasing and imagery that evoke all the emotion and symbolism that the poetry medium presents. I’m not usually a fan of over-lyrical description; I find myself lost in the deluge of words. Yet, I didn’t mind in this work. The reader gets an amazing setting of pine-scented New Hampshire mountains, the glitter of the upper-crust Ohio society, and the bustle of a newly launched POW camp.

I’m also not usually a fan of the insta-love in most books; usually it’s not portrayed realistically or believably. However, Francis distinguishes himself from the pack again in presenting a romance between two individuals who suit each other in both temperament and life outlook that I could actually believe in. I found myself rooting for Collie and August from their first meeting, their gentle encounters and sweetness melting my heart.

The one downer to the book is, unfortunately, a huge one. There is an overall sense of despair and sadness that permeates the entire book, almost from the very beginning. Just when I was expecting some positive development or good outcome, I’d be hit with either a broken heart or something far worse. It’s almost like the author was trying to tell us that forbidden love will never work out, and we should never strive for its culmination. Bad things will happen if we try… Probably not the message he was really trying to convey, but it’s the one I got.

Great setting skills and a main relationship I thoroughly enjoyed make this a work I enjoyed to a point. If only I wasn't burdened with the “depths of despair” (as Anne Shirley would phrase it!), I think this work would have rated higher for me. Yet, I just can’t enjoy a book overall when I keep crying and blubbering over the characters and their fates. So not a bad book, but bring the tissues!

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