Rated of 5
by Mij W. (Bainbridge Island, WA)
Historical Fiction About WWII, Three Women & Their Husbands
In Next to Love, I escaped back to WWII and saw life through the eyes of three women and their husbands, all affected by the war. As I followed their stories, I often found myself thinking of my mother and my aunts, picturing their lives as young women, starting out in life, and then with families, through the years, seeing what was expected of them as wives and mothers.
The brutality and tragedy of the war was vividly brought out, and how each of the three women responded to events affecting their husbands and their own lives. I liked how some of these effects were spread out over a span of years, which is the way life is sometimes. Sometimes in life, an event will happen that jars. It can take years for a resolution, for healing.
History buffs will find this book very satisfying.
Throughout the book, it felt like there was a narrator standing in the background, telling the story. This worked for me sometimes, but at other times, no. Sometimes I wondered whose voice it was--the narrator’s, or the character that was being portrayed in a particular chapter.
The other thing about the narrator’s words--it felt like “telling” instead of showing. I was being instructed about some idea about WWII or other things. When I read a novel, I do not like to be “told” something. I prefer to “see” it in a picture of words painted by the author. I realize this is not always possible, that some telling has to be there. But here, I thought it was too often, too much.
Finally, what I really wanted more of, but which would have required a novel of many more pages, was more knowledge of the three women’s characters, more of their personal stories, or whatever ways authors use to “develop” their characters. Although each of the stories in the novel were interesting to read, I never felt like I really knew them intimately, never truly got inside their shoes.