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After all the hype and praise surrounding this novel, when I finally read it myself I found that my feelings resembled those of a deflated balloon. This book has been vastly overrated. It has little coherence or focus and the characters fail to excite your sympathy or imagination. Faulks begins by doing one thing, and ends up with quite another. The love story in the first half has no time to develop properly, so it ends up dissolving into the background. In the second half Faulks throws in the Holocaust to stir up some excitement, but he forgets that this tragic event and its implications cannot be bundled together in the last few pages of a novel. Towards the end he gets so desperate that he resorts to sentimental clichés to create some emotion - an old man who is ill and thinks his son has abandoned him, two small orphaned children... "Charlotte Gray" fails in every possible way. If you want to read a truly exceptional book about the Second World War, you should buy "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" instead.
Little does the unwary reader suspect how their emotions will be squeezed, stirred and hung out to dry as they follow Charlotte Gray into war - torn 1940's France. Sebastian Faulks has again produced a novel of great power and perception, which, coupled with his extraordinary ability to breath life into his characters, makes Charlotte Gray one of the most deeply disturbing novels I have ever read. Yet, as with Birdsong, having ruthlessly exposed the horrific inhumanity of man during times of conflict, Faulks shows us the sliver of light at the end of the tunnel, the hope which makes it all bearable. The images spinning off the pages of this book will live with you for a LONG time. Mr Faulks, you are a dangerous man.