Thursday, January 28, 2010

TRANSGRESSION by James W. Nichol

Publisher: Harper paperbacks
Date published: September 2009
ISBN: 978-0061782312
Trade Paperback
Reviewed by Valerie
Obtained via publisher

Sixteen-year-old Adele Georges lives in Nazi-occupied Rouen, France. She falls in love with a young German clerk. They have to hide their affair. Then, the Germans leave and the townsfolk turn on her, shaving her hair, painting a swastika on her head. She leaves for Paris, where she hopes to meet Manfred again. In Canada, in 1946, a finger is found and Chief of Police, Jack Cullen uncovers the body of a man. Soldiers are returning home and they are bringing their new brides with them. One of these is Alex, and his new bride, Adele. Alex and Adele now have to make a new life for themselves. Alex suffers from the years at war and Adele is doing her very best to help him. Adele, Manfred, Alex and Jack’s lives will all intertwine with each other as kept secrets reveal themselves.

This is a very interesting story that will draw you into the world when war raged. Fathers, brothers, sons and uncle have disappeared, never to return. Mr. Nichol paints a realistic picture of life in occupied France. Then when the war is over, how do people get back to normal life again. This is a vividly written story with great characters. I really enjoyed how it starts in 1941 in France, and then another story is started in 1946 in Canada. You know that the two stories will join up somehow, but you don’t know how, and this keeps you reading to find out. There is a very clever twist at the end. The descriptions of the war, the suffering of the people and the veterans trying to get back to a normal life, were for me personally rather traumatic. Being a European, we are faced with this story often in the media. But I enjoyed following Adele’s story and how she copes with her quite tragic life. Definitely a book to read.


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