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News of Our Loved Ones

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  520 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Set in France and America, News of Our Loved Ones is a haunting and intimate examination of love and loss, beauty and the cost of survival, witnessed through two generations of one French family, whose lives are all touched by the tragic events surrounding the D-Day bombings in Normandy

What if your family’s fate could be traced back to one indelible summer?

Over four long y
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Harper
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Another 5 star read!

I’ve read a few books recently about the small decisions that can shape a family’s life for generations to come. In addition to that, there are major life events that can do the same thing, and such is the story with News of Our Loved Ones.

The Delasalle family lives a meager existence in a Nazi-occupied village in Normandy, France, when in 1944, it is rumored that the Allies will invade. Their home is in the direct path of the Allied bombers. While one teenage sister, Yvonne
Angela M
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The writing is lovely. It’s easy to connect with the characters, their heartbreaking losses, with feelings and flaws that are recognizable because they feel realistic. This is different from a lot of WWII fiction that I’ve read. Abigail Dewitt doesn’t engage us directly in the violence of the war. Though the bombs fall and there are losses of life, it’s quietly told, from afar. The Holocaust, of course is taking place, but we are not exposed to the atrocities of the camps, yet there are Jews who
Diane S ☔
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 This beautifully written novel focuses on the aftermath of war, it's effect on those of generations to come, rather than on the war itself. It exposes how memories vary from one person to the next, by giving us a series of connected stories, or experiences if you will. Each chapter provides a piece of the puzzle, each character their own story, until the piece is finished, and whole. A story of a family that starts in France and on to America. A story of family loyalty, love, secrets and a d ...more
This book seemed very disjointed. I feel like I have too much information and at the same time not enough. There are so many characters that I don't feel like I knew hardly any of them enough. I wish a main character was picked and the story evolved around them. It felt like a lot of short stories that had related characters. I do have to say that I loved the ending. I felt like it tied up a few loose ends. ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
The tragedy of war leaves its remnants upon people long after the war has ceased. A World War II novel always bring into focus all the lives lost, the lands destroyed, and the people who were left behind. In the book News of Our Loved Ones, that tragedy is explored as we are introduced to the Delasalle family and the trauma they were exposed to while living in Normandy during the war.

The village in which the family resided was overtaken by the Nazis. They witness the terrors of the war, their Je
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
News Of Our Loved Ones is the story of one family's survival during World War II in France. Told from multiple perspectives, the writing flows beautifully from one story to the next. A quick, but deeply engrossing read. ...more
This book seemed on the brink of something potentially great but never quite got there for me. Many interconnected stories that seemed partially finished and disjointed. I️ found myself having a difficult time following the characters and respective storylines.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written tale of two generations of family and the impact the war and the choices they made had on them. I loved this intimate portrait of a family and how the ripples from the war spread out to each family member. Told in multiple perspectives and generations, this was a insightful look at how events shape and impact a family for generations to come. I didn’t particularly like the multiple viewpoints as it got confusing many times and the story didn’t flow as nicely as it could hav ...more
Dennis McClure
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our publisher asked me to do a number of things after they bought our book last year. Do social media, they said. So I did. And there are an infinite number of authors hawking their books on social media. It's embarrassing. I'm not going to do that.

But I kept running across one writer who was there with taste and subtlety. Who didn't make me cringe at all. And her book, not at all the sort of thing that would reach out and grab me, was there. And it began to haunt me. So I bought it. And it was
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
News of Our Loved Ones tells the story through the lens of different characters in the Delasalle family interacting with the Naquets as it suffers through WWII, suffering and loss, until the 21st century.
I could have used a road map to keep track of the different stories told through the eyes of the family members, even those who we know had been killed.
The book begins with the opening of WWII and the events of June 6, 1944 as the DDay Normandy invasion hits Caen. I could easily reread this bo
Oct 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
It's probably just me but this novel by Abigail DeWitt, although very well written, just didn't have much of an impact on me. Telling this story from so many different viewpoints seemed to water down the potential of powerful storytelling with a lack of in depth character development. Characters come and go but I would have rather the author concentrate on one or two and the life long effects of D-Day and the German occupation. It looks like I'm in the minority here as it's a 2.5 for me. ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself getting a little lost in the telling of this story because it bounces around along a family timeline in which several members of the family have the same name. I really did enjoy it though. My confusion may simply stem from listening to the audio book version instead of seeing the print in front of me. A wonderful story.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is so beautifully written, so vivid, so moving, and the characters and their lives are so sharply drawn. This is a book that will stay with you long after you've read the last page. Like so many other great writers who have used family history as a seed for great fiction, DeWitt is a master at rendering artful and riveting fictional lives from the minimal strokes history provides. If I could nominate this book for the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, I would do so in a heartbeat. ...more
Maureen Grigsby
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is based on the family history of the author, whose grandmother and several aunts died in the bombings on D-Day. Compelling!
Jean Kolinofsky
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
News of Our Loved Ones is a beautifully written story that moves between occupied France and America in the years following WWII. The Delasalle family lives in Normandy and find themselves in the path of the Allied invasion on D-Day. Their story is told by the women of the family and it is one of love, loss and remembrance.

I received a pre-publication copy of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for my review. I have already ordered a print copy of this book because it is a story that I wo
Glenda Nelms
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
News of Our Loved Ones is an impactful and moving novel through different perspectives of the Delasalle family living in a Nazi-occupied village in France during World War II. The book opens with the D-Day invasion in Normandy. Abigail Dewitt takes readers to places during the war and then to America. Dewitt provides us with perspectives from the Delasalle family, villagers in small French towns. This novel paints a moving portrait of reslience, trauma, strength and love of a family
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
News of Our Loved Ones is a book about World War II – stop, it’s not the kind of World War II book that you’re probably thinking it is. Author Abigail DeWitt settles readers into various places during the war and then in America, after it. She jumps from character to character, providing a rich story and detailed characters without having to christen the book as “yet another Holocaust story”. No, DeWitt’s novel provides us with a point of view of some of the others: villagers in small French tow ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Set during WWII, the many characters in this book are linked by one family and what happens to them on D-Day. Yet this book was not what I’d expected at all, and that’s why I had such a difficult time reading it. It wasn’t a chronological story; each chapter was told from a different POV and often it took me a few pages to even determine who I was reading about, how they had anything to do with the characters introduced in the first chapter, or even what year it was in relation to the D-Day
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
My first thought upon picking up this book might have been, "Do I really need to read another novel about French women-- or anyone, really-- living through World War Two?"

I couldn't have been more wrong. I was lost in this beautiful, sad book for hours, reading through my entire Saturday afternoon. In less than 220 pages, Abigail DeWitt weaves a tale of love and heartbreak, marriage and affairs, family, estrangement, war, youth, old age, fate, foolishness and ultimately, understanding. The chap
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Beautifully written and brutally honest, the book offers a glimpse at life in France during the second world war and afterward- the randomness, selfishness, impassivity, fear, shame and trauma. For this set of characters, life loses purpose after an air strike on their home, and they go on silently mulling why one person lived and another did not, so much so that they cannot come to a reckoning about the past. Instead, each character is discomforted when others do not recall or respect memories ...more
Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah🥀🐍
Beautifully written with an exquisite tone, but the lack of a main character and the multitude of shifting perspectives left me unable to connect with the story below the surface.
Linda Phillips
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a stunningly beautiful book. The structure is ingenious and the heart is so lyrical I read it slowly so as not to miss a single melodious note.
Elizabeth Lutyens
This is a kaleidoscope of a novel, its facets shifting with each twist of the author’s deft hand. The multiple point-of-view characters, the expanse of time (1940s to 2000s), and the spread of settings -- from Normandy to Paris to North Carolina and back to France -- acknowledge the large canvas of a world at war. To cope with the vastness of this backdrop, Dewitt chooses a nonlinear map, perhaps sensing that a sequential narrative would not do justice to those enigmatic times. For this reader, ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There seems to be a never ending supply of WW2/Holocaust stories, but this manages to differentiate itself. Focusing on a French family which is torn apart by the D Day Landing, it sweeps back and forth through time, and hopping between characters. All this works to create a mosaic of tragedy interlaced with the strength of family. Very entertaining and would recommend if you love your WW2 stories.
Judy Goldman
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeously written novel -- deeply moving and richly imagined, both tragic and joyful. This stunning book and its well-defined characters will stay with you long after you turn the last page. It's a story about the ferocity of war and how it affects not only the people who live through it, but also, the generations that follow. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Read it. Then bring it to your book club; it would make for a fascinating discussion. ...more
Mia Kern
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, I really did. The writing is so beautiful, and it truly does capture the melancholy feeling that accompanies recalling family memories. The whole thing felt like a puzzle where I had to put together the pieces to understand how this family was connected (I even made a family tree to keep everything straight). But even so, the connections felt organic, not forced just for the sake of the connection.

It's not perfect. My one criticism would be that, despite it being told from a v
Laurie Smithwick
I would have been perfectly happy for this book to never end. The multiple points of view, the circling and circling around a story, the humanity, the trauma; everything about "News of Our Loved Ones" felt special, like I was given a private audience with a family's defining history. The way DeWitt interlaces the stories creates a dense weave of conflicting emotions, a point-counterpoint of decency and darkness that are in the shadows of every family but aren't always brought to light. I had som ...more
Lovely Loveday
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
News of Our Loved Ones is a beautifully written historical fiction set during World War II. A story that is tragic and happy yet deeply moving. The characters are well-developed with realistic backstories that are relateable. They are sure to stay with long after reading this remarkable book. A stunningly beautiful novel about war, love,  trauma, and resilience. DeWitt has beautifully written a story that explores the trauma and tragedy of war. Told through different characters point of views.   ...more
Leah McCartney
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the aspects I love most about this novel is that it’s primarily set around France during WWII but told from a female perspective. I feel most historical fiction novels from that time are generally focused around men, so I loved the change of pace. Then to read the “About the Book” at the back made the story even more personal. Being loosely about her own family, DeWitt became vulnerable while writing. Even more, I love that it’s told from a family’s perspective over an individual’s perspe ...more
Heidi Hutner
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“News of Our Loved Ones” is an intimate and moving portrait of a French family during World War II. It is one of the most beautifully-written books I have read in many years. A classic. The language is seamless. Lyrical. The stories are delicately tragic—never overwrought or sentimental. Each interwoven tale is intimate, touching, and sharply poignant. I couldn’t put it down.
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