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Léon and Louise

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,221 ratings  ·  220 reviews
A life-long love affair that survives the tribulations of two World Wars, Léon and Louise tells the story of Alex Capus' French grandfather. It charmed readers in Germany, where it sold nearly two hundred thousand copies and, in the year following publication, never left the Der Spiegel bestseller list.

Summer 1918. The First World War is drawing to a close when Léon falls
Paperback, 262 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Haus Publishing (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,221 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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May 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So so...another boring book finished. are my expectations so high????
The first part of this book, when Leon and Luise are young adults is great written. witty, funny, with feeling. I really had that feeling - when you want to read a book slowly, to keep the niceness of the book as long as you can.

Unfortunately, from the „turning point“ on, it all becomes a boring and pointless story. I was like hä? so many times. endless and pointless actions of the main characters, long pointless dialogues. th
Janet Tomasson
I loved the book very much, even if it is hard for me to explain why.

 The plot is quite casual, and not always the motives of the characters are clear, but somehow I think this book is exciting and pleasant to read.

 There is something about the writing and something about characters that is utterly charming. Even when terrible events described, there is some magic that comes from the way the story told. Also, the characters presented in a way that made me relate them and to their thoughts. Many
Jeanette (Again)
The best writing here is in the long letters Louise writes to Leon. They have a liveliness and humor that is absent in the rest of the novel.
Nancy McKibben
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who like literary love stories and fiction set in the 40s
Recommended to Nancy by: I found it at the library
Léon and Louise
By Alex Capus

A very French love story, albeit written by a Swiss. Léon and Louise of the title are young lovers separated in the aftermath of a terrible air bombardment at the end of World War I, then reunited years later, after Léon, who has been told that Louise is dead, has married and had children. So, one of the central questions of the book: how to live with that?

This is not a fast-paced book, and it opens slowly, so hang in there until the lovers meet, at about page twenty
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What this book teaches us is that true love exists, and it might even find a way in the end, but it always comes with a price. And the price is usually worth paying.
Joannah Keats
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, ebooks
This review refers to the NetGalley eBook edition.

My rating for this book is probably closer to 3.5 stars than 4, but I rounded up because I think it deserves a little bonus. Beautifully written, sassy, unexpected at times, this is not your traditional love story and yet in many ways it kind of is at the same time. My favorite thing about this book is the smart-aleck verbal sparring that Leon and Louise engage in. The only thing I disliked about this book is the fact that there wasn't more of t
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As much as I wanted to like this book - i did not. I found it completely boring, both the characters and the plot.
Vita Mia
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Not bad. It was quite slow at some points, but really not bad.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing was gorgeous, the characters clear cut, and the story engaging with a sensitive, perceptive point of view. And kudos to the translator for an adept English-language edition.

While I do think this was a good book, and the ending was unexpected, and the story carried on with the backdrop of war without war being the main focus--I do have to say that this is another wartime romance, another story about infidelity that is portrayed as justified by circumstances (and yet the characters ca
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a surprisingly enjoyable read, since it's not the typical WW-love story. On the contrary, after the teenagers Leon and Louise are separated, WWII remains an on the quiet presence filtered through Leon's family's struggles of everyday life. It appears sometimes as a particularly bitchy SS-colonel, sometimes as Leon's "personal clochard" asking him for help to leave a nazi-occupied Paris.
I enjoyed the fact that the story is told through the point of view of Leon's nephew, giving it
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A quietly captivating profile of a lifelong love affair that spans two world wars. It's more focused on Leon and his life in Paris with his wife and children, a life that is only occasionally interrupted with the appearance of Louise, the great love of his life. Beautifully written and engaging.
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed the first few chapters but, for the most part, it was downhill from there on. If I hadn't been reading it for the German-Speaking Book Club of Chicago's next meeting, I would probably have given up half way through.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If one is expecting a sweeping love story full of gripping emotions against the rollicking world events, this is certainly not it. It is indeed a love story set in a turbulent world history - WW I and WW II France- but a love story exuding an almost perplexing level of quiet resoluteness (because at the end of the day one does not quite know why the characters are so in love for so long) in describing the love between the two protagonists which lasts over 30 years. Is it enjoyable? Yes. The pros ...more
An unusual and amusing love story covering many decades and told with a light hand. The book was translated from German (the author is Swiss) and is about two people who meet in WW I in France, get separated for years after an explosion that leaves each thinking the other is dead, and reconnect intermittently without upsetting the marriage of the man (he has a wife as kooky as the two protagonists). Implausible but charming and a real window into the Nazi occupation of Paris in the second World ...more
Viktoria ✨
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Review in English)

It was a really good book :)

The humour of it pleased me most and it was also lovely and sad sometimes.
I was wondering how fast things changed at the end but it was a good ending to my mind ♡
And you can learn from this book - that no matter where you are, love is still there. ♥
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-fiction, e
Great story-telling and an excellent translation. I thoroughly enjoyed this book
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
couple of years ago...from what i remember a great love story
Barbara Howe
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Léon and Louise is a charming love story, but is not a formulaic romance. The book spans decades and two wars, and the two title characters spend far more time apart than they do together. They meet in the final year of World War I, and are both gravely injured in the German final offensive. Léon, believing Louise dead, goes on with his life. The story skips ahead a decade, and he has a wife and children before discovering Louise alive on a passing train in the Paris Metro. From there on, Léon’s ...more
Sono G. de m
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claudia  -
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unconventional love story set in France, spanning over 70 years.

At the very end of WW1 Leon and Louise meet in a small provincial village and fall in love at first sight. Their brief and tender affair is brutally cut short when, on a day out, they get separated and wounded in the fringes of a battle. They each believe the other dead and eventually get on with their respectable lives.

10 years later Leon, now married with kids, runs into Louise in Paris. “The path of true love never runs smooth
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love and war story. I really enjoy Capus writing, with that crucial eye for detail that every now and than makes you feel like he isn't writing a story anymore but instead he is writing about you - the reader - and he sees right through you.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, which is an exploration of love and life redeemed. Beginning in WWI France and stretching through WWII, the central characters follow threads of suffering, survival and finally, thriving.
Ofra Keny
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading as I love historical fiction. Well it isn't, although takes place during historic events, it doesn't really refer to the events. Nevertheless, it's a sweet, heart warming and easy to read book. Definitely recommend it.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this beautifully written book. I would love to see a film made ... the main characters - Leon, Louise and Yvonne were brilliant .read it - find out!!
Katerina Pom
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful realistic, things get in the way, love story
Micha Goebig
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as love stories go, this has always been one of my favorites.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great love story with witty characters. But I am disappointed by the ending.
Liz Owen
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming and quirky book, very evocative of France. Rhythmic writing, but a few odd translations, particularly near the end. Worth reading though!
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful writing. Touches of irony. How people survive what life throws at them, the ordinary becomes quite extraordinary.
Sophie Mirgaux de pina
Fun read
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“It's only now, when a few thousand kilometres will insulate us against deceit, lies and underhandedness and we very probably won't see each other for a long time, that I feel really close to you once more. Only far away from you am I really at home with myself, only far away from you can I dare to open my heart without losing myself.” 5 likes
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