Today is the day Seasons of the Moon by Julien Aranda is released! Seasons of the Moon is a steady moving story about a man who goes on a journey to find the daughter of a Nazi solider, whose dying wish is for his daughter to know that he loves her. Or so I thought. This is only part of the story; we also follow protagonist Paul as he grows from a boy to a man, works for the French army, marries the love of his life, & fulfills his childhood dream of becoming a sailor.
I received an eARC from the publisher, AmazonCrossing,
in return for an honest review.
Although this book shows a more humane side to one Nazi soldier,
I would like to state that I, in no way, condone the behaviour of
the Nazis during World War 2.
It is undeniable that the acts of the Nazis during World War 2 are unforgivable, but people often forget that not every soldier on the German side wanted to serve under Hitler; that some of them only “did their duty” in order to protect their families, & that premise is brought to life in Seasons of the Moon.
On the day that Germany surrendered, the people of Paul Vertune’s village decided to punish the Nazi soldiers that had taken over their little village in France. The Nazis were beaten to death by the men & women of the village, but a young Paul felt sorry for one of the soldiers; one whom had previously not shot him when he “should” have done. Whilst holding the Nazi as he died, Paul is asked by him to find his daughter, to tell her he loves her, & this moment is something that shapes the rest of Paul’s life.
When I picked up this book I was hoping for a story of a young man who drops everything to travel the world to find a young girl, so that he can pass on her father’s dying words; & in part I did get this. But, Paul doesn’t just drop everything, instead he threads this mission into the decisions he makes about his own life & this book follows him through his life journey. Paul’s life experiences end up being quite interesting & a lot of the book plods along at a steady pace, however, there were some moments that made me very emotional & that’s probably because of how good the writing was.
I really enjoyed the first half of this book; it was exciting & compelling; I found Paul’s interactions with the dying Nazi very thought-provoking & his time in the French army left me very amused… but, a lot of the second half felt like gap-filling & the book started to lose it’s charm. Despite this, the author’s writing was incredibly poetic throughout & Aranda is obviously a talented writer. Nevertheless I must admit that there were times when I found Paul’s character very arrogant, & I sometimes found it hard to believe that someone like Paul could have grown up during a war – at other times though, I did find his optimism & positivity contagious, & there were many moments when I was left smiling.
Paul’s time at sea was interesting & I enjoyed the relationship he had with his best friend; they were both very good, honest men who just wanted to enjoy life & it was nice to have so much positivity after such a sad start to the story. Although I found the second half of the book less interesting than the first, I did still enjoy reading about what happened after the war… a lot of the war books I read only tell someone’s story during the war, & I very rarely get to see how those characters live out the rest of their lives, so Seasons of the Moon was a nice change from that.
This book covers some sensitive topics; it was somewhat brave of Aranda to write a book that is in part, based around sympathy for a Nazi, but I think the point that Aranda was trying to make was conveyed quite well. That is, when a young Paul see’s someone dying his innocence means that he only see’s another human being, & not what uniform they’re wearing, & this was probably the case for a lot of the young soldiers who were made to fight against other young soldiers. This book wasn’t what I expected it to be, I expected a long & meaningful journey & instead I got the life experiences of an overly positive young man; I did enjoy this book in part, but I also felt bored at times & only kept reading because I wanted to know whether Paul would ever actually find the Nazi’s daughter.
I think I’m too used to exciting & fast moving stories, so this book wasn’t totally for me but it was still written well & the underlying idea was an interesting one – maybe you’ll enjoy it more than me. You can preorder a copy using the links below:
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Book Depository | Wordery