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The Girl in the Blue Beret: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Jun 28 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (June 28 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400067189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400067183
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.1 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #484,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Amazon.com: 71 reviews
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Touching story of love and war July 1 2011
By Mary Verdick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Cocky young U. S. Army pilot Marshall Stone has nine missions under his belt when his B-17 bomber is forced down in a Belgian field, near the French border, during World War Two. Struggling to escape the nearby German troops he flees into the woods and is helped by some ordinary citizens of the town, who are secret members of the Resistance. These incredibly brave people, young and old, and from all walks of life, daily put their lives on the line to help the U. S. and British airmen who have been shot down get back to their bases in England.

Stone remembers the great kindness he was shown and especially the unbelievable courage of these people. He especially remembers a teen-age girl in a blue beret, who guided him through war-torn Paris to meet his contacts. His escape route took him on a harrowing journey over the Pyrenees to Spain, but he made it back to his base and never looked back. Now a 60-year-old widower and anxious to make peace with his past, Stone returns to Belgium determined to find the brave people who saved his life so long ago. What follows is an amazing story of courage and redemption and another chance at love. And yes, he does find the girl in the blue beret, whose own story is both powerful and effecting.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The story had such potential July 18 2011
By Diane C. Kulik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
What a wonderful idea for a story, but the writing is so choppy; jumps from thought to thought with no connection. And the characters are so flat. I find Marshall to be not even likable; he seems unable to connect with his own children yet supposedly has this overwhelming desire to track down people he barely knew over 40 years before.

This book is easy to put down and not have any feeling of rushing back to find out what happened next. I'm about half way through and really only sticking with it because I have nothing else in the house I have not already read.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Good, but not as great as some thought July 9 2011
By puffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A funny mix of story based on actual events or diaries from people who lived through these times and fictional elements. More to recommend than to dislike, but I could never truly feel immersed in it. The ending seems tacked on. Wanted to believe that the girl could have risen so far above her torture, but I really don't buy it. Perhaps if she had had a great deal of therapy, but just turning off the memories, I don't buy this as real and I think it demeans the lasting effects of such horrific suffering. Having known Holocaust survivors, and sensed their deep insecurities and misery, I just can't buy such a miraculous healing--unless it happened for inexplicable reasons. Robert's descent into alcoholism seems closer to the reality of what I have seen. This was a terrible war and left a lot of crippled survivors. Read it, but question it! One virtue of the book is to reveal the suffering that members of the French resistance endured.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Disappointed in this over-hyped book Oct. 31 2011
By Mimbelina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Forced into retirement by his beloved airline, Marshall Stone has lost his purpose in life. His thoughts turn to long suppressed memories of World War II and his experiences after crashing a plane behind enemy lines. He remembers with gratitude the people who aided his escape from the Nazis and decides to retrace his steps through Belgium and France. According to the Amazon.com review, "Marshall's search becomes a wrenching odyssey of discovery that threatens to break his heart--and also sets him on a new course for the rest of his life. In his journey, he finds astonishing revelations about the people he knew during the war--none more electrifying and inspiring than the story of the girl in the blue beret."

To be honest, I am forced to wonder if I'm the only reader who feels like the reviews are exaggerated praise for a humdrum work by well-established author. The writing is choppy and, though it tries to be emotionally evocative, never quite reaches the point of touching this reader's heart. Marshall is a very unsympathetic "hero." Self-absorbed and almost egotistic, he dully recounts his lackluster relationships with his now-deceased wife and children while obsessing over memories of women he encountered (and slept with) only briefly during the war. I tried to forgive his failings and write them off as realism, but his personality is otherwise as lackluster as his relationships and I just couldn't bring myself to get drawn into his story. His recollections of his past are as drably recounted as the rest of his narrative. Sad to say, I worked hard to like the novel, but I have failed miserably and am returning it to the library unfinished.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Dull and Disappointing Sept. 28 2011
By Miss Scarlet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The best thing about this book is its title. But unfortunately the book is not about the girl in the blue beret--or the girl on the bicycle, or the boy with the cigarettes, or the mysterious "Robert," or any of the many other members of the French resistance it cursorily mentions. It's about a self-centered American pilot trying to adjust to his enforced retirement and looking for the next woman to hit on.

There was a good story here, but it never came to life. In addition to one-dimensional characters, disconnected dialogue, and annoying redundancies, the sequence of events is deliberately muddled at the beginning, and the point of view remains distant throughout. I was completely bored until chapter 24 when the details of the forced landing are finally explained. The story of the girl in the blue beret does not begin until the end of chapter 42 (out of 60 chapters, mind you), and even then its narration is detached and perfunctory. The author missed her chance to create empathy for the characters and suspense about their fate by not introducing them as their younger selves earlier in the story. As it was, I didn't care if the retired pilot ever found the people who had helped him--or a new girlfriend. I just wanted the book to be over.

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