VANCOUVER, BC, August 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Life After Life has been oversimplified by many as a kind of 'Groundhog Day', but saying that limits the book to simply its format, rather than its content, themes and writing style, which take this book from a unique format into a multi-layered, rich piece of historical fiction.
The premise is similar to Groundhog Day, yes, in that we meet the main character, Ursula Todd, when she is born on a snowy day in 1910. She dies as she is born, from having the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. From there the author immediately goes back to the beginning and rewrites the scene, having the doctor make it to the Todd household in time to save Ursula's life. And thus begins the pattern of the book, with Ursula dying at various ages and in different ways, and then getting to return to the beginning and live again, all the while slowly developing a sixth sense that gives her the knowledge to avoid certain situations or people without really knowing why - that they, in a previous life, had contributed to her premature demise.
The book certainly lagged a bit in the beginning, when it felt as though we had to endure the same story told over and over again just to get Ursula to a certain age, but it hit its stride in the wartime years, in which a young Ursula is volunteering for the war efforts during the Blitz and very evocatively shares the horrors she sees in wartime London. In one 'life', Ursula has married a German man and they end up living with Eva Braun in The Berghof. Many readers found this part particularly unbelievable and it removed them from the story, but personally I appreciated the insight into Eva Braun's character; she is often a forgotten element of Hitler's life. Also, as the book progresses, those multiple childhood chapters that at first feel taxing to get through become increasingly relevant as they create an accurate family portrait of the Todds that helps the familial ties seem both more real and more problematic.
For those who feel that the World War II historical fiction genre has been exhausted, this book offers a fresh and thought-provoking take on this time period, in which we not only see the war from a female perspective but we also have the war as just one of the many backdrops that set the scene of Ursula's life. And of course, there is that moment where the timeless philosophical question is posed: "If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?"
The final word? This needs to be on your summer reading list.About Prompt Proofing
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