Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks

About the book

In 1942, Charlotte Gray, a young scottish woman, goes to Occupied France on a dual mission – officially, to run an apparently simple errand for a British special operations group and unofficially, to search for her lover, an English airman who has gone missing in action. In the small town of Lavaurette, Sebastian Faulks presents a microcosm of France and its agony in ‘the black years’. Here is the full range of collaboration, from the tacit to the enthusiastic, as well as examples of extraordinary courage and altruism. Through the local resistance chief Julien, Charlotte meets his father, a Jewish painter whose inspiration has failed him. In a series of shocking narrative climaxes in which the full extent of French collusion in the Nazi holocaust is delineated, Faulks brings the story to a resolution of redemptive love. In the delicacy of its writing, the intimacy of its characterisation and its powerful narrative scenes of harrowing public events, Charlotte Gray is a worthy successor to Birdsong.

Reviewed by Eastleigh Library Wednesday Reading Group:

Thought provoking and harrowing in places. Difficult to get into and not a page turner but a rewarding read never-the-less.

Star rating: ***

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6 thoughts on “Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks”

  1. Review by Literary Ladies Reading Group:
    Mixed views on it, but general consensus was that it was not as good as Birdsong, and also that there seemed to be a lot of bits of stories tacked together in a rather chaotic manner.
    Star Rating: **


  2. Review by Bridewell Beauties Reading Group:
    Much disagreement within the group. Some people felt the storyline was weak and unconvincing. Most of us enjoyed the vivid descriptions of Vichy France and found the descriptions of anti-Semitism extremely poignant and moving.
    Star rating: **+


  3. Review by anon reading group:
    We waited a long time to read this book, testament to its popularity. It was much praised and enjoyed for the way the author managed a complicated cast of characters in a difficult period of WW2 history of England and French occupation by Germany.
    Star rating: ***


  4. Review by Valleydene Reading Group:
    The group was really split over this one! One person enjoyed it so much that she immediately reserved Birdsong – another title in the trilogy. Another member found it difficult to get into and all the characters unsympathetic.
    Star rating: ***


  5. Review by Bursledon Good Neighbours
    Very well received by the group. good to be reminded about French attitudes, during the war, in the south of France.
    Star rating: ****


  6. Review by The Benches
    All of the group members were disappointed with this book. None of the characters are sympathetic or likeable (except the Jewish boys). Charlotte’s relationship with her father is difficult to follow and most of the plot is delayed until the last few chapters. However the passages concerning the treatment of the Jews in Vichy France were impressive and truly heart rending.
    Star rating **


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