cover image The Normandy Diary of Marie-Louise Osmont:: 1940-1944

The Normandy Diary of Marie-Louise Osmont:: 1940-1944

Marie Louise Osmont, Author, Marie L. Csmont, Author Random House (NY) $17 (118p) ISBN 978-0-679-43438-2

The author was a middle-aged French widow living in a chateau only three miles inland from the Normandy invasion beaches. Her remarkable diary records her impressions during the German occupation, the D-Day fighting and the subsequent occupation by British troops. Profoundly resentful of the uninvited military guests who made themselves at home at Chateau Periers, Osmont could not bring herself to hate the Germans and, in fact, felt maternal pity for the youngest infantrymen. Though she achieved greater rapport with the British commandos who violently replaced them after D-Day, she soon became disgusted by their rampant thievery and vandalism (they ``plunder idiotically'') and, when a neighbor characterized the British as their saviors, Madame replied, ``But at what a price!'' Her comments often touch one's emotions as she bewails the damage to her cherished chateau in the furious fighting, tenderly cares for terrified stray animals and grieves over the fresh graves of German and British soldiers she had known. Her descriptions of the bombardments, air raids and firefights are vivid and disturbing (she was struck by shrapnel on the second day of battle but carried on after treatment). A unique account of the Normandy invasion by a perceptive observer caught in the action. Illustrations. (June)