“There was nothing wrong with this epistolary from a father to his estranged daughter, about life in small town Nova Scotia in WWII and the reasons for the estrangement. It's well written, tackles some serious topics with some depth, and the characters are well developed and believable. It just wasn't very interesting and in the end, I found the storyline and the characters dull.”Shannolater wrote this review Sunday, August 21, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“3 1/2 stars - Written as a letter to his estranged daughter on her 21st birthday, it’s a confession that speaks of the mysteries of human character during wartime. Slow-moving but stirring.”Cathy A wrote this review Monday, July 18, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Wyatt Hillyer moves to small-town Middle Economy to live with his aunt and uncle after the separate yet simultaneous suicides of parents. In one long letter to his daughter some twenty years later, we learn of Wyatt's life during the war years in Nova Scotia, his love for his cousing Tilda and subsequent disappointment when she meets and marries a German student, Hans Mohring. The author uses actual historical incidents to lend credibility to the story. This is not a happy tale, but one that will make you think about what you might do in similar situations. Ably narrated by Bronson Pinchot. ”Susan G wrote this review Tuesday, June 14, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this audiobook. I think I loved it even more because the narrator (Bronson Pinchot) was BRILLIANT. The ending was realistic, even thought I hoped it would take me a bit further - I could have followed this story for ages more - but I still enjoyed everything. The dialogue and characters were so real, and they certainly came a live for me in the reading. ”MeggieC wrote this review Saturday, May 14, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A well-written family saga / piece of historical fiction. From a narrative arc POV, I think it peaked much too early. I liked it, but doubt it's as memorable as I'd anticipated.”Patricia L wrote this review Wednesday, May 4, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Older man writes a letter to his daughter to explain his life, and the story is rather haunting because of circumstances he had to face in order to go on with his life. However, the catharsis of the writing and the effect on the daughter are never quite clear, so the book remains somewhat unsatisfying at the end.”Judy F wrote this review Tuesday, April 12, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is an odd little book about WWII. A friend suggested I read it because I like am interested in WWII and the Holocaust. This book was not about that segment of WWII. It had some good moments, but overall I did not care for it and I would not recommend it.”Rita L wrote this review Sunday, March 27, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very slow read but quite enthralling and representative of life during the WWII era.”Vevah L wrote this review Thursday, March 24, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“One of those books I was not sure if I was going to get drawn into. I was wrong. Twists and turns that I never expected. As the summary stated, this novel is stirring. ”Belle wrote this review Wednesday, March 23, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a relief after By Nightfall! Norman creates such complex interior lives for his characters without ever becoming mired down in their crap. In some ways, the novel is told from the perspective of an observer even though it's in first person and the form of a father's letter to his daughter. This form doesn't hold up well, but you can just ignore that.
Wyatt, the narrator, comes to live with his Aunt and Uncle when his parents both kill themselves on the same day (okay, seems a bit contrived but just don't worry too much about it). He joins his uncle in a business to make tobaggan's and sleds (someone's got to do it) and falls in love with his cousin Tilda, I guess it would be. The love is unrequited and everything is going along fine (or as fine as things go in Norman's novels) until WWII and the arrival of a German student who Tilda falls in love with. Wyatt's uncle begins to lose touch with reality and becomes obsessed with the Germans and the possibility they might invade Nova Scotia. His obsession turns deadly when Tilda marries the German and the uncle kills him. Norman's portrayal of this scene is masterly. He does it in front of Wyatt and Wyatt is shocked and hits and punches the uncle but then helps him dispose of the body. The two confess and both are imprisoned. The father forever basically and Wyatt for a few years.
When Wyatt is released he goes back to Middle Economy, where he re-establishes a tentative relationship with the widowed tilda. One night, in an odd comforting of one another, Tilda becomes pregnant with Wyatt's child. This does not bring them closer together, but eventually rends them further apart when Tilda goes to Norway, I think to live with her German husbands family. Wyatt is left to muddle along, and muddle is what he does. he doesn't really develop any relationships with anybody except for the waitress and expert scone maker that he had been friends with since he moved to Middle Economy.
He leaves Middle Economy to live in the city and is kept up on his daughter's life through the waitress. Eventually, his wife dies and the daughter is going to return to become the local librarian. All of this is being told in a letter the father writes the daughter. And that's where the novel ends. There is no closure, we have no idea what will happen next. There is very little explicit emotional content. This is left up to reader's interpretation and you know nothing about the daughter and how she feels about all of this, but the novel is still quite good and emotionally compelling.”