Monday, May 31

Book Review: War on the Margins

Title: War on the Margins

Author:Libby Cone

Pages: 251

Summary: France has fallen to the Nazis.Britain is undr siege. As BBC bulletins grow bleak, residents of Jersey abandon their homes in their thousands. When the Germans take over; Marlene Zimmer; a shy clerk at the Aliens Office, must register her friends and neighbours as jews while concealing her own heritage, until eventually she is forced to flee. Layers of extraordinary history unfold as we chart Marlene's transformation from unassuming office worker to achieve Resistance member under the protection of artists Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, who manage to find poetry in the midst of hardship and unimaginable danger.

Drawn from authentic World War II documents, broadcasts and private letters, War on the Margins tells the unforgettable story of the deepening horror of the Nazi regime in Jersey and the exceptional bravery of those who sought to subvert it.

My Rating: 9/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The author asked me to review this book, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read the book, as it was a lovely, well written story, which had a multiple layers and amazing characters. Where do I even begin? The story takes place during the German occupation of Jersey and how the characters rose up in attempts of resistance, as well as their own turmoil and personal conflict of their own actions and there place in society. The author did a fantastic job at creating very believable characters, who the reader was able to connect with on an emotional level. Even the minor characters who were affected by the war, as their families were torn apart, had you anxiously waiting to see what would happen to them. It made for a very emotional and powerful read.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Mary and Lucille. In fact I think the two of them were my favourite characters in the whole novel. Not only where they powerful woman in the resistance, but they had some very entertaining methods to stand up to the Germans, and very amusing personalities. As well as their romantic relationship of the two, who started out as step sisters, and later became lovers. I especially enjoyed their journey together near the end of the novel, and the strength they both had. I will leave it at that, so I don’t ruin it for others. But, they were both truly wonderful characters.

I didn’t like Marlene near the end of the novel. Once she came to a realization I could understand a bit where she came from, but she seemed to be a little over the top about the issue, to the point she started to annoy me. It wasn’t a horrible thing wrong about the book, but her own self pity (although well written) began to bug me after a while. In my opinion what’s done was done, and she couldn’t change it.

Over all, a wonderful and powerful novel on the lives of those affect by the German occupation of Jersey, and the lives of the people and their families who were affected by it, imprisoned because of it and those who dare to stick against the enemy.

Would I recommend it to read: Oh yes! Especially if you enjoyed The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society, than you will diffidently enjoy the book. Although they aren't the same story, this book takes place before the events in GPPPS. Also, if you are participating in Amanda from The Zen Leaf's GLBT Challenge, this would also be a good book to read, although it isn't a major theme, there is a beautiful realtionship between the two stepsisters Mary and Lucille.

What to read next: The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society

Challenges: Read 'n' Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge,
A - Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge, RYOB Challenge

NOTE: Although I wrote this review on June 13, 2010. This is actually an old review from May. So it counts towards May Reviews. I think (if I did it right) I have the date so it is "posted" for May 31, 2010. But it will appear in readers etc as June. Just letting you know. Also will be explaining my "disappearance" in my May wrap up.


  1. This sounds fantastic! I watched a Masterpiece movie a few years ago about life on the Channel Islands during the Nazi occupation. It was really good! This sounds like another great way to learn about that experience.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful read, and I am interested in this subject, so I think it would be a great read for me! I am so glad that you liked it and your enthusiasm for the book really shines through in your review. Thanks for the excellent review!!

  3. I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one, as I received it for review as well. And you know my obsession with WWII book!

    I'll get this linked to War Through the Generations soon.


  4. Aarti - This was a great way to look at the experience, it was so well written.

    Zibilee - I find my self interested in a lot of WWII literature, in all aspects, whether it's topics surrounding the Holocaust, or a look at the war and fighting itself, I always gobble the stories up. This book was no exception.

    Diaryofaneccentric - I also have a bit of an obsession with WWII books. I hope you enjoyed it as well.