Two very different sisters navigate life in WWII France in this sweeping story: Isabelle, an impetuous 18-year-old who is eager to defy the Nazis, and her much older and more traditional sister Vianne, who tries valiantly to keep home and hearth together. Reader Stone’s strength lies in the emotional range she brings to her characters—not just the two sisters, but also their jaded, detached father, and even Vianne’s small daughter, who grows up markedly during the war. Stone approaches the performance with an intuitive understanding of the characters’ private fears, knowing that their inner lives are often quite different than their public faces, and that a good deal goes unsaid between them. She also performs an excellent French accent. But rather than trying to carry it through all of the conversations between the French characters, which would be tedious over the course of the novel, she wisely reserves it for names and places. However, the voice she employs for Captain Beck, a German officer billeted at Vianne’s house, is stereotyped, and other international inflections—British, Eastern European—fall flat. A St. Martin’s hardcover. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015 Release date: 02/01/2015 Genre: Audio
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