5 out of 5 stars
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Review VieVie La Fontaine, by Linda Heavner Gerald
Prospective readers who remember World War Two will recognize many of the events in this interesting story. Younger readers will learn a great deal about that era, not just from an historical perspective, such as one might read in history textbooks, but from the point of view of actual people who lived through the terrible time. The setting is mostly in Paris, France.
According to author Linda Heavner Gerald, she spent many years reading about the Second World War, and always wanted to write a novel about resistance fighters who risked their lives working underground against the occupying forces. She writes that this could have been in Poland, as well as France.
Through a serendipitous circumstance author Gerald met a woman by the name of VieVie La Fontaine, at a charity auction. Ms. Fontaine made a bid with an odd stipulation that a book be written about her. Subsequently, the two became dear friends, and Mrs. Gerald set out to write this story entitled VieVie La Fontiane. The result is an amazing historical romantic novel about the French Resistance Fighters who fought to save France during the German occupation of their country in the early nineteen-forties.
Although VieVie La Fontaine and the other characters are merely representations of the “hundreds of others who fought valiantly against a tyrant and a maniac,” the events and facts are as accurate as possible.
The book is dedicated to John Pugliese, an actual “survivor of Hitler’s horrors” whom the author happened to meet at a restaurant. He gave her many facts that she later used in the novel.
The story is told from the point of view of a fictitious young Jewish man named Mark Lichter, who was born and raised in Germany. His parents are well-off and operate a law business that had been in the family for generations.
The Prologue begins in 1933 when the German Reichstag elected the Nazi party. This was the beginning of the transformation of the Weimar Republic to Nazi Germany. Eventually it propelled Adolf Hitler to power, and became a one-party dictatorship based on National Socialism and the “New Order.”
I found the next few pages fascinating. As an American who was born during in those days I have always wondered how the ordinary German people could have fallen for this evil man and his outrageous ideas. The author was able to put me into those times and help me to comprehend. This background information is vital to understanding the story.
Mark Lichter’s story begins in chapter one, when his dear parents drop a bombshell into his idyllic life. As elder Jews, in their wisdom, born of centuries of persecution, they realize what is coming, and so they have made arrangements for Mark to escape from Germany while there is still time. He is too innocent to understand, nevertheless the prospect of moving to Paris, the City of Light, is a dream come true. He has always wanted to be an artist. And so, he obeys his parents and bids them a sorrowful farewell.
After an overnight journey by auto, he is welcomed into the beautiful Parisian home of General La Fontaine and his exquisitely gorgeous wife VieVie. From there the story takes off relating the rest of Mark’s years, some giddily happy, some harrowing and some utterly devastating. It will keep you in suspense, leading up to, during, and after the war.
I recommend this novel to anyone who relishes a great read, but especially to young people who have no idea how the horrors of WWII could have occurred. If it were possible I would rank this book six-stars.
Five stars out of five.
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