3 out of 4 stars
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Vie Vie Review
Taking place in the dramatic arena of the war-torn countries of Germany and France during WWII, La Fontaine by Linda Heavner Gerald is a sweeping tale of love and betrayal.
As Adolf Hitler rises in power and antisemitism rears its ugly head, young Mark Lichter, a college student, is sent off to Paris by his parents for his own safety. He has little warning and is only told that he is being sent to family friends. He doesn’t realize it is the last time he will see his family.
Upon arriving in Paris he meets his new host, General La Fontaine, and his lively, vivacious wife VieVie. VieVie begins squiring innocent Mark around the city, partying at all hours of the day and night. The General and his wife have had an open marriage and they share that Mark’s own father was once a lover of the beautiful woman. Mark soon finds himself in love with the siren as well. As the threat of war draws nearer and then overtakes Paris, VieVie and Mark continue their wild affair right under the nose of the general. When the General is killed in battle they become fearful and despondent and join the freedom fighters to defend their beloved Paris. Their missions take them down different paths, forever altering their relationship.
This was a very interesting book. If I understood the author’s introduction correctly, the book was written for a real-life VieVie but was not actually based on her life just on historical facts. I felt like the book might have been rapidly written without some needed organization, because instead of progressing naturally through the development of the Nazi take over it bounced around dramatically. Future occurrences were reminisced on before they were actually affecting the characters. Being a history buff, this did not drive me crazy because these were all facts I already knew, however, it really took away from a natural story arc and was my least favorite aspect of the book.
While very different from the norm, Mark and VieVie’s relationship was believable and well-drawn out. The style of writing was very beautiful, just unorganized as previously mentioned. Mark’s immaturity is well demonstrated as he bemoans being away from his parents but still glories in his new life of licentiousness. My favorite part of the book was the description of how Paris slowly began to rebel against the Nazi’s.
I would rate this story 3 out of 4 stars due to the disorganization. Anyone who enjoys history and love would appreciate the book, but those who hold a more traditional view on marriage could easily be offended.
VieVie La Fontaine
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