WOW. Just WOW. This was even better than I had hoped.
This book tells two stories, one is in the now featuring Julien who, along with his wife and child, goes to visit his wife’s family in America to celebrate her great aunt’s birthday. The then featuring that great aunt, Odette who fell in love with an American soldier during WWII and moved with him to the US. Starting a new life there.
I loved both parts, but I have to say I loved the then parts even more. As Odette is a wonderful girl with spunk, and I have an interest in stories taking place around WWII. I haven’t read many war brides stories, so I was definitely more invested in reading Odette’s story as it was more interesting.
But that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the Now parts. Oh no, I just loved seeing Julien try to adjust to the weird American ways of doing things. Toys that are shaped like chainsaws, violent stuff on the tv that kids just watch, sex toys in the bathroom, weapons (point to Julien for that discussion btw), and more. In a way it parallels Odette’s experience, for her as a French girl she had no idea what was going on in that big country of the US.
The ending was perfect, I was already wondering if the story of Odette would tie up with something in the now. And it did. I loved how the author wove that all together into one thing.
Odette’s story, how she fell in love (and I just adored that she wasn’t like a lot of those girls who immediately went for it with a soldier, instead he has to win her heart by kind gestures, sweet letters, and family meetings), and how she decided (though she wasn’t all too happy at first) to go with him to America. Which is a big step for her as she has to leave everything behind, her dearest brother, her family, everything. Of course one can’t just go to America, she had to go to a camp near the harbour to be checked, to have everything sorted, health checks, to learn the national anthem, to learn to make cookies (really, cookies?). After that a trip with a big boat, which also picked up other war brides from other countries. The boat was really grand, with a cinema, hair saloon, dancing studio, and much more. These girls will definitely not have been bored.
I wasn’t too happy with her hubby in America. I get that going to France is going to be expensive, but to hold your wife away from it so long? You know she wants to go, you know she desperately needs her family. It took her way too long before she was able to finally meet her family, her brother, again.
Plus I also loved Odette in the now. She was still a kick-ass lady, even being 86 years old. 😛
The art is just stunning and fabulous, I love the style. And I adore the cover even more now that I read it, as you can know understand what is going on in the cover. I know now that Odette is the girl in the front, and that those on the right of her are her family from the now.
All in all, a graphic novel I would highly recommend to everyone. Read this one, you won’t be disappointed.