Christina's Reviews > Winter of the World

Winter of the World by Ken Follett
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Nov 09, 2012

really liked it
Read in November, 2012

Ok, so I should provide the following disclaimer before writing my review. My approach to reading this was through an audiobook, my first audiobook ever. Although I was able to "read" this book on the train, at work, at the gym, etc., I still felt that something was lost in translation.

The book takes off with the children of the characters in the first book starting off their lives in this tragic period (Spanish Civil War to the end of the World War II culminating in the birth of the Cold War). Of course, as I started off, I was still attached to the former book's main characters and wanted to read more about their journey. I was sad about the updates received on them.

With respect to the characters, the main ones are Lloyd Williams (Ethel Williams' and Fizherbert's illegitimate son), Daisy Peshkov (Lev and Olga Peshkov's daughter), Woody and Chuck Dewar (Gus' and Rose's sons), Carla von Ulrich (Maud and Walter von Ulrich's daughter), Volodya Peshkov (Lev Peshkov's illegimate son cared for by Grigory Peshkov), and Greg Peshkov (Lev Peshkov and former nightlife performer Magda's son). In my opinion, Lloyd Williams, Chuck Dewar, and Carla von Ulrich were the heroes of the story. We rooted for them and suffered their tragedies with them. With the exception of Volodya who grew up far away from his toxic real father, Lev's offspring were rather unlikeable characters. Daisy evolves as a function of actual distance and personal experiences but once she becomes likeable, she disappears from the story.

Unlike the first book where practically everyone in the first book came out of their Great War ordeals alive, sadly, this was not the case in this one. This book was tragic. There were deaths, there were characters that never evolve, there were some truly unlikeable characters, and there were really graphic scenes of unimaginable horrors. Also unlike the first book, while this book did not skimp on historical details, it wasn't as cumbersome but delightful all the same.

Most of us have heard the stories of our grandparents (parents in some cases) during this time period. They've lived through a lot of tragedy and this book really helped me, at least, to imagine my grandparents/great-grandparents at their respective ages during this time (maternal side was in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and paternal side was in Japan during the bombing of Pearl Harbor). I always think back to the lives they led and just how interesting and horribly tragic it was, and this book did a fantastic job of bringing my previous perceptions of that time period to life. Bravo, Ken Follett.
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