BookBrowse Reviews The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Children's War

by Monique Charlesworth

The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2005, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A deeply satisfying read full of richly complicated characters. Historical Fiction

Comment: There are plenty of books about war told from an adult perspective but not nearly so many from the viewpoint of children, and fewer still that are written for adult readers from a child's point of view.  

Set in Germany, France and North Africa just before and during World War II, we see the war through the eyes of a young Jewish girl and a boy who struggles with his place in the Hitler Youth. Ilse is the 13 year old daughter of a Jewish father and Christian mother, both Germans.   When war breaks out she's sent away by her mother to live with her uncle Willy in Morocco, who becomes more of a father to her than her own father has ever been.  However, when Germany invades France, Willy rejoins the French Foreign Legion and Ilse is sent to Paris to live with her father who, as a vocal but somewhat ineffectual Bolshevik, has fled Germany to avoid the Gestapo's net.  Ilse's mother, Lore, takes a job as a nursemaid and nanny for a high-ranking family in Hamburg, where she agonizes over the decisions she's made and wonders if she will ever see her daughter again.  One of her charges is Nicolai, a boy the same age as Ilse, who finds himself increasingly uncomfortable with his position of privilege, and his family's (and thus his own assumed) loyalty to the Nazi party.  

I found The Children's War to be a very compelling read; Charlesworth really gets inside the heads of her characters, who have to grow up so quickly, and through them she conveys both the terror of war and the unvarnished banality of day to day survival.  The book covers a lot of  ground - from the bombings of Hamburg (at the time the heaviest assault in the history of aerial warfare) to the students of the military academy at Saumur in France who, having been taught to uphold the highest codes of honor, held a bridge against the German advance for a full day, while the people of their town stoned them from behind, so that they would surrender faster and spare the town.

This review is from the September 14, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Graybar Hotel
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins
    We – those of us on the outside – are lucky. So very lucky. We get to experience life &#...
  • Book Jacket: The Force
    The Force
    by Don Winslow
    Intense! That's the word. Winslow's The Force rips through its four hundred pages with the...
  • Book Jacket: Shadow Man
    Shadow Man
    by Alan Drew
    Alan Drew's debut novel, Gardens of Water, was an ambitious work of literary fiction set amid ...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Necklace
    by Claire McMillan

    For readers of The Nest, the intelligent, intoxicating story of long-simmering family secrets.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.