Ignorance- Michèle Roberts

strong>Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge by the publishers (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Jeanne and Marie-Angèle grow up, side by side yet apart, in the Catholic village of Ste Madeleine. Marie-Angèle is the daughter of the grocer, inflated with ideas of her rightful place in society; Jeanne’s mother washes clothes for a living and used to be a Jew. When war arrives, the village must play its part in a game for which no one knows the rules – not the dubious hero who embroils Marie-Angele in the black market, nor the artist living alone with his red canvases. In these uncertain times, the enemy may be hiding in your garden shed and the truth can be buried under a pyramid of recriminations. A mesmerising exploration of guilt, faith, desire and judgement, Ignorance brings to life a people at war.

Review.

The synopsis above is rather different to the one which I read on netgalley, and I feel it represents the book much better. I went into the story expecting a story which looked back on war times, and something which had been hidden within that time, some great secret. What I got was the story of two women, childhood friends who had started on a similar path but ended up going in completely different directions.

The war was somewhat of an important factor in the story, however it was only significant in that a major storyline would not have happened outside of the war- there was never any real sense that it was war-time.

Marie-Angèle ended up going to an (arguably) better place, she still seemed to have some care for her old friend, however it came across as charity, or a duty. Marie-Angèle didn’t seem to actually care for Jeanne so much as to want to be seen to be caring for her. Jeanne in her turn actually seemed to dislike Marie-Angèle, and I didn’t blame her.

You see I didn’t like Marie-Angèle the whole way through this book, and that made her chapters a little difficult to read. I found her snobby, fake, and rather conniving. The nearest I can say I came to liking her was that I understood sometimes why she might think what she was doing was right, although she seemed to value her own opinion as being much above others.

Jeanne I ended up liking. We never really know what became of Jeanne, but I hope her life got better.

There were some elements to the story which I didn’t really understand the inclusion of. They added little to the plot, apart from fulfilling the promised secret which was not significant to the rest of the story.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.99)

Hardback (£9.59)

Paperback- pre-order (£5.99)

Other Reviews:

I haven’t seen any other reviews of Ignorance. If you have written one please leave me a link in comments and I will add it here.

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Filed under Fiction review, Historical

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