Children of Freedom

Written by Marc Levy
Review by Cas Stavert

This novel, based on true stories of the French Resistance, is an excellent read and will appeal to those like myself who have previously enjoyed the novels of Sebastian Faulks and Louis de Bernières.

Jeanot and his brother are Jewish boys. In the France of 1940 they can see what is happening to others of their kind and determine to fight the Nazis. But as Jeanot says at the beginning, the hardest thing was finding the Resistance. We don’t tend to think of the Resistance as being run by teenagers, but that is what the group Jeanot and his brother joined were. They were also largely refugees from other European countries who had fled to France, from Spain, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The novel follows Jeanot and his compatriots through the last years of the war as they struggle against the local Nazis.
This is a well written and enjoyable novel, but those who like a bit of suspense in their reading may be irritated by the way that each character is introduced with a short summary of what eventually happens to them. This effectively means that the reader knows what is going to happen to everyone right from the start. It then becomes a story about how the characters get to their end. Despite this structure, there were one or two surprises at the end, and it was, overall, a satisfying read.