Format Read: Paperback
Source: From the publisher for an honest review
Release Date: July 29, 2014
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Blurb 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.
I love history and I will read anything that takes place during WWII. When Bea offered this to me I jumped at it. Granted I usually choose non-fiction WWII books but this one tugged at my Romeo and Juliet heart strings.
I have some mixed feelings about "The Major’s Daughter". Historically, the book was fascinating. I never realized that there was a POW camp in New Hampshire before reading this book. I learned a lot about women (of privilege) and their status during this time. We always hear about Rosy the Riveter and how women in the workplace became more common after WWII but we rarely hear about “the other half”.
Collie, while she was not upper class, was privileged. She was attending college before the war and rubbing elbows with those higher in society than her father, the major. She became friends with Estelle, whose parents are very well off. At first, Estelle is the mysterious friend who we only know from Collie’s memories and a few letters. Later, Estelle comes to visit and when she returns home the reader gets to view the world from her eyes. Honestly, I preferred Estelle’s story over Collie’s.
Collie notices a handsome German POW on his first day. (We come to know later that August is actually Austrian.) She is intrigued by him and finds ways to talk to him. Collie’s interactions with August are actually very few, so I had to wonder if it was really love she was feeling or just attraction or infatuation.
Estelle, I found much more fascinating. She had been making friends with an Indian (a Sihk) flower shop owner. She traveled to visit Collie because she was hoping that her trip would clear her mind. What had started as friendship was turning into something much more and would be unacceptable to her parents. We actually get to see the mixed emotions of a woman who was considering a mixed race/religion relationship in the 1940’s.
While Collie’s relationship with August left me cold, Estelle’s relationships and decisions were heart wrenching. I found myself wanting to skip Collie’s sections of the story and fast forward to Estelle.
Overall, I learned a few things I did not know before and that I liked bit. Collie, who the story is supposed to be about, was a bit boring. Estelle, on the other hand, captured my attention. "The Major’s Daughter" is a mix of emotions. You will cry, curse, and smile throughout the whole book. I liked it, I just didn’t love it.