I’ve finished the second book in this AMAZING series and I’m still just as much in love with it as I was when I finished the first book. I’m a bit angry about certain things but that is more related to my feelings about characters than the author’s writing. The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:
War made them fighters. Love made them heroes.
Carla von Ulrich, born of German and English parents, finds her life engulfed by the Nazi tide until she commits a deed of great courage and heartbreak. . . . American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific. . . . English student Lloyd Williams discovers in the crucible of the Spanish Civil War that he must fight Communism just as hard as Fascism. . . . Daisy Peshkov, a driven American social climber, cares only for popularity and the fast set, until the war transforms her life, not just once but twice, while her cousin Volodya carves out a position in Soviet intelligence that will affect not only this war—but the war to come.
In Winter of the World, we’re taken straight back to our favourite characters from the previous book although we’ve moved a generation down. We’re now mainly seeing the world from the perspective of the children born to our characters in Fall of Giants. I think this is a very natural progression for the story. The previous characters are still very much involved in their own way, very happy about that, but as the world moves forward the younger generation steps up and the older down. Again the historical backdrop is nothing less than amazing and so full of details that my inner history geek is having a field day with them all! The historical period this book takes place in is the years of 1933 to 1949. Needless to say, there is a lot of stuff happening here and I think Follett weaves it all together so neatly. I almost forget that I’m reading a novel and are not witnessing something in real life. He expertly weaves the greatest events of this time period together. Sometimes as a reader you just pick up the name of a familiar event sort of in the background of the story, your brain (aka. my brain) works on this piece of information, and when it clicks you (aka. me) gets very excited of which turn the story is going to take. I’ll stop talking before I spoil half the fun!
I know a lot, not to brag, about this time period and yet when I read novels that are this detailed I feel like I still have a lot to learn. Especially the time period that comes towards the end of the book. I have a feeling that I will learn a lot from the next book! In this one, we are presented with the pre-war horror of the Nazis from a German civilian perspective, we enter the Soviet Union when Stalin is in power through the eyes of a firm believer in Communism, and we witness America in a post-war situation when Europe is in ruin through the eyes of an American who wishes nothing but peace. The characters create a fascinating group who against all odds meet and work together in several different ways despite their differences.
This diversity, among the characters, really give the book the emotional depth that made me so angry a few times whilst reading it. At some point I was slapping the book against my knee and my boyfriend looked at me rather quizzically. I had to explain to him that the slapping was due to something that happened to a character whereas he just looked at me even more strangely. This book made me laugh, rage, wonder, and marvel at what a strange breed humans really are. I was NOT pleased about all the destinies of the characters but I suppose things have to be the way they are in order to make the book work. Which it does, astonishingly well! I might be able to forgive Follett depending on what he does in the final book. I think my favorite character in this book is Daisy (born Peshkov). She annoyed me the first 33% of the book and then someone gave her a reality check and she and I become more civil. She reminds me a bit of Scarlet O’Hara and I couldn’t stand her for half of Gone with the Wind either, haha. How someone, Daisy, can be so bratty and spoiled is beyond me….I’m curious to see where my favorite is heading in the next book!
Winter of the World is the perfect follow up to Fall of Giants. If you’re an historical fiction lover then this is, still, a perfect series for you. I’m obsessed, I’m in love and I’m not looking forward to the end of this series! I think so far this is my favorite book for obvious reasons, the time period being the main one but also the characters. This book will give you everything you love about historical fiction and more. READ IT!
Genre: Historical Fiction
Theme: Family, friends, love, war, politics
– The Book Reader