The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I picked this book up, it immediately intrigued me. Beginning with a German-Jew, Rotheram, who escaped Germany to Great Britain and now, interrogates German Prisoners. With that sort of beginning how can it not draw you in? Then, we jump to a small town in Wales, where the British are building a prison for German POW's and we meet Esther. Who is a bright Welsh girl, who dreams of leaving their small village and doing more with her life than raising sheep. But then becomes entangled with a British soldier who deceives her in the worst way possible shattering her dreams. Another jump, to the war front where a German soldier, Karsten, surrenders and is inevitably sent to, you got it, the prison in Wales.
As I continued to read the story, one thing bothered me. We never once touched back with Rotheram. His point of view doesn't return until the very end where he tells us the ending. I don't want to be told the end! I want to experience it! I loved reading about the culture of Wales, and their attitude toward the war. I found Karsten's inner struggle over his 'cowardice' in surrendering interesting and it drew me on. But as we crept toward the end I found my disappointment growing. Whether it was because my interesting was waning, or I could see the book was going to end in a way I wasn't going to like, or because I felt a bit decapitated having Rotheram tell me how it ended, I could only bring myself to give this 3 stars.
So, if you want to learn about WWII from a bit of a different perspective, as well as a not so 'happily ever after', go for it, but reader beware, there is language, especially from the soldiers.
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