A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

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Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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Four Silver Stars

Fifty-Year SilenceA Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“How do you break a silence that is not your own?” A question that author Miranda Richmond Mouillot poses in the preface of A Fifty-Year Silence, Mouillot’s memoir about her search to discover what divided her World War II-surviving grandparents, Anna and Armand, decades ago. With a pen that is virtually poetic in its execution, the author conveys her urgency to draw out and salvage the light and dark pieces of her aging grandparents’ elusive story before time, their time, runs out.

No matter how much I hear, watch, or read true WWII accounts, there’s always something from a different survivor’s perspective that gives me pause, and here Mouillot effectively brings out the idea of the war’s “reduction” of the people who lived through it, people like Anna and Armand, who were essentially reduced from so much that they’d been, or may’ve been, to those who would then be perpetually “hounded…by the exhausting injunction, ‘never forget'” what happened in that short but world-altering span of years. Granted, some of the detailing about working on “the ruined house in France” didn’t interest me as much, but the author ultimately weaves the threads of this narrative together in a way that resonates, ending its complexities with simplicity that strikes a haunting, beautiful chord.

I’d recommend this memoir to anyone with an interest in WWII literature and family mysteries.

That you even exist is a miracle; a miracle that you’re here; a miracle we’re alive; a miracle that we survived.

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Note for my blog readers: not out of keeping with the nature of the subject matter, this book contains some profanity.

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