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May 28, 2012


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jenn aka the picky girl

My post will go up Wednesday, but like you, I really enjoyed this novel, though I think the first two in the series are my favorites.

1.) What I really enjoyed in this one was the sense of connection between everyone at the front. The messages being passed back and forth and how news was carried was really interesting. Also, since I just finished the latest book (whoops!), I’d say that becomes even more important. Plus, seeing Bess in action is great. It gives such a fuller picture of who she is than when she just travels about, solving crime. Like the last book, though, I just couldn’t understand this odd family.

2.) It was a bit confusing! I wasn’t sure who it could be because I was so suspicious of everyone.

3.) I didn’t care of Lydia. Unfortunately, I think she’s much too selfish from what we see of her for her to take care of Sophie well. I felt sorry for Bess because she so wanted to do the right thing for Sophie, but it just wasn’t to be with so many others in the way.

4.) This progression is so realistic and so sad. When I read this, I googled the numbers of dead in the different countries, and it was astounding. I cannot imagine knowing I would likely die and going off proudly to serve king and country.

5.) Ah, Simon. I respect and admire him, but I just don’t know that I like him for Bess. Sergeant Larimore was so fun! I loved that he kissed her at the end, but unfortunately, I think Charles Todd just threw him in there to sort of conveniently tie some loose ends up in the novel. I think Simon is very protective of Bess, but I think each of them probably feels a bit more than just fraternal love for one another. Just not sure if/when they’ll admit it.


1) A Bitter Truth was definitely my favorite to date, to the point where I actually felt a bit bereft when I finished. I also noticed that this was the most frustrating of the three--I was really annoyed at Lydia for taking advantage of Bess.

2) This is another re-read for me, and I'd completely forgotten who the murderer was, although I did remember Mrs. Ellis's confession about halfway through.

3) This was such a difficult part of the novel, because I can see both sides. I think that, ultimately, it will be better for Sophie to be in England, especially because both of her legal parents are dead, but I agree with Bess that things need to be taken care of in France too.

4) I think the change could really be seen with Roger and Lydia Ellis. The distance the war put between them nearly destroyed their marriage, and Roger is so affected by his experiences that he will never be the same man.

5) I think Simon's feelings are definitely taking on something deeper than familial obligation, but that Bess is still blind to it, particularly with the introduction of Sergeant Larimore. It'll be interesting to see where it goes; I'd be happy if she ended up with either of them!

Jen - Devourer of Books

My review:

1.) This was definitely my favorite of the three so far as well. I just felt like how Bess was drawn into this family's affairs was the most plausible we've seen so far, even if it did require the coincidence of Lydia showing up on her doorstep, out of all of London.

2.) I definitely did NOT guess the killer, but I don't think I have a single time yet.

3.) I would love to see Bess be able to check back in on Sophie later. She most likely is better off with biological family in England than in war-torn France, but I'm not sure that anyone in this family is equipped to care for her, and Lydia least of all.

4.) This line reminded me somewhat of the Order of the White Feather we learned about in the 2nd Maisie Dobbs book, BIRDS OF A FEATHER. From what we can tell of Roger before the war, he certainly seems very changed by his experiences, and definitely for the worse.

5.) I'm not sure that either Simon or Bess has realized the truth of their feelings yet. I completely agree with Farin that I think they both have them, though (and that I sort of loved Sergeant Larimore).


1) I've enjoyed the series and liked A Bitter Truth as much as the first two books.

2) Nope, never had a clue about the murderer. I had a few guesses but they were all wrong.

3) Lydia's motives seemed a bit selfish while Bess seemed completely honorable.

4) I thought the officer's comment to Bess at Dover about the recruits was telling when he said "Poor devils". I imagine it's no different in any lengthy war.

5) I don't think Bess recognizes his apparently changing feelings. Or maybe I just want his feelings to be changing. When he said "My dear girl" while hugging her near the end of the book I thought there might be more growth in their feelings for each other before the last page. Like Jen and Farin, I loved Sgt. Larimore :)


i loved every minute of this one!! Loved it! Answers in the link here:


Oh I loved this one too! Although I think #2 might be my fav so far, it's definitely close!

1. I loved this book. I felt what kept Bess involved was clearer than in the other 2.

2. I didn't guess at all. In some ways, I think we were supposed to assume it was Roger or poss his mother (WHY was she so determined her missing guest be found) but the wrap up was very satisfying, and totally fit. Great job, Charles Todd!

3. I appreciated seeing both sides. My heart broke for Sophie. I do tend to think that she'll be better off in the long run being with a proper family as opposed to an orphanage in the middle of a war, but I agreed with Bess that France and its legal system had rights too, and my heart broke for the child snatched from all she's known. And that family is scary--Gran and Lydia between them could seriously mess up a child. But maybe, just maybe, their better sides will prevail.
I would like to see Sophie show up in future books.

4. Again, I appreciated this realistic look at the effects of a long war on the populace, and I know from other reading that WWI changed the face of England forever. We really see this in the person of Roger. We get glimpses of a different sort of person, and of a different sort of life that Lydia could have expected when they married. I think both were changed irreparably.

5. Simon, yes. I think neither he nor Bess is quite honest as to changing feelings, but I think Simon in particular is falling in love. I am unclear as to his age, and would like to see that spelled out. He's obviously quite a bit older than she. And, like others said, I rather liked the irrepressible Sgt. Larimore--he's a fun foil for the proper Bess (although she's a bit of rebel to convention too)

GREAT book overall, and I'm really looking forward to #4. In fact, I'm enjoying this read-along so much that I don't want it to end--could Charles Todd please come out with #5 for July? Pretty please?

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