“Violins of Autumn” by Amy McAuley Book Review by Papyrus


I feel bad about not liking this book so much, because I was really hoping it would meet my expectations, but it didn’t. The first thing that I didn’t like was the cover (lipstick and dramatic posing) and the book got worse from there. It wasn’t a terrible book, it just wasn’t my type. Maybe the right type of person to read it would be a teenager who doesn’t know all that much about history and just wants a somewhat-exciting book.

To start, Adele is a completely boring main character. The synopsis says that she’s “prepared to die for her cause”, but never in the book does it even hint that she really cares about “the cause”. I thought she seemed much too preoccupied with romance throughout the book to be of any use. Also, if I had been introduced to her separate from the story, I would never have guessed that she was a seventeen-year-old from 1944 who was sent into France on a dangerous mission. She spoke and acted like a modern teenager who was trying to seem like she was from 1944, but didn’t pull it off well at all.

Speaking about that mission, what was it? Well over halfway through the book, nothing of consequence had happened yet. I kept getting excited when I read something, hoping that something big will happen, but nothing ever did.

I don’t think this book is complete trash, although the only reason I have enjoyed it was to laugh at all the little ridiculous parts and historical errors. One of these is that the characters discuss D-Day openly. D-Day was a highly secret operation, and a spy like Adele would not have been trusted with such important information.

One last note: I read this around the same time as I read Code Name Verity. The books, even though they are about roughly the same time period, roughly the same kinds of people, and take place in roughly the same place, are polar opposites. Code Name Verity is the best kind of historical fiction. Violins of Autumn is an example of awkwardly written, shallowly researched, and somewhat plotless historical fiction.



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