Everyone has a past, a history started by relatives who lived before us. And we are curious about their story. Where did they live, how did they make a living, did they have children and more. Sometimes , going backwards can answer present day questions. For Mouillot, she does just that. She travels to France in an effort to discover why the long separation between her grandparents, Anna and Armand. She learns that they went through a horrible ordeal during Hitlers rein of terror.
Miranda decides to question both her grandparents, separately and feels the bitterness that Armand, her grandfather, feels due to his wife leaving him so long ago. There was no divorce, just a very, very, long separation where neither spoke with another nor saw each other. Anna moves to the United States eventually to make a new life for herself and Miranda’s mom and uncle. Armand is left in a house that both had purchased after the war.
Both Anna and Armand live through death and refugee camps and being on the run from capture. They fell in love long enough to have two children and then the feeling left Anna’s heart. While they are apart, they each see death take place at the hands of the Nazis and watch many suffer from starvation and hard labor. When Miranda goes to France, she sees a house that both Armand and Anna purchased but notices it’s in need of major renovation. Her grandfather still pays taxes on the house but wants to sell it. No one can occupy it. Her grandmother doesn’t want to sell the house. Miranda is the go between, the messenger who tries to get the two to cooperate. In the end, she finds that war must have kept from loving each other, as they went so much tragedy and her grandfather interpreted at the Nuremburg Trials. War is hell as the saying goes. It never left Anna and Armand. They just shoved it in the back of their memories and pretended all was good again. The ruined house says it all. Even when Miranda tried to renovate, she too, gave up. Past stays in the past with all the good and bad that accompanied it.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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