Review: Something Old, Something New, by James R. Vance
March 16, 2014 by thedarkphantom
Our path through life, right from the beginning is composed of a series of small events. These, sometimes imperceptibly, cause change and each of these seemingly insignificant junctions cause a ripple effect, the results of which shape our lives. Sometimes, these junctions are hidden innocently, impossible for foresee and with no apparent ability to affect our future.
The story, which Elodie Arnaud recounts, starts innocently enough with her sister Monique’s fascination with the quaint English bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Soon to be married to Gerard Thiebaud, the determined Monique convinces her sister Elodie to go with her into the attic and find their grandmother’s trunk. Monique reasoned that surely, there must be something, which she could use; however, nothing could have prepared them for the repercussions that simple action caused.
Their grandmother, Marie Lafond had lived in Montauban, a large town in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of France during WW2, and during the war, she had been only a teenager, with a teenager’s perspective on life. The decisions she made and events in Oradour-sur-Glane, a village in the department of Haute-Vienne, are the substance of this book.
The Oradour-sur-Glane lived in today, is new, and built on the orders of Charles de Gaulle after WW2. The original village, which Marie would have known, stands as a permanent memorial and museum to the 642 men, women and children, slaughtered by the 2nd Panzer Division of the German SS on the 10th June 1944.
If you live in a rural community anywhere in the world, you accept that they are very close knit, with memories which are carried down through the generations. I live in rural France where the war is still so apparent both in monuments and remembrance days in every village; the horror of their lives through occupation and the work of the resistance, are very plain to see, even now.
This book is a beautifully written chronicle of the life of one family through three generations. The author, through meticulous research has given the reader a wonderful insight into what it would have been like to grow up and live in France under occupation.
Through Elodie and Monique’s discoveries and reflections, we learn how the outlook of modern generations has changed, on the surface, but then memories for some people, run deep.
Lest We Forget…
Reviewed by Susan Keefe
Available in Paperback from Amazon