World War II, 1940, in the Nazi-occupied city of Rouen, France: Despite Germany’s stranglehold on the French, Benjamin Cohen, an introverted but musically talented adolescent, defies his father to study the carillon in the Catholic cathedral, a huge instrument of fifty-five bells. Though impeded by the German threat and his perceived dismissal by family, his confidence grows with the help of his new “family” at the cathedral and his pet cockatiel, Frère Jacques. This coming-of-age epistolary novel tells of wartime dynamics between Catholic and Jewish, boy and girl, father and son, and two estranged brothers on their journeys through war, love, and tragedy. Can Benjamin’s mastery of the carillon and his love affair with the troubled nun-in-training, Marie-Noëlle, give him le courage he needs to perform the one act that can save his people from Nazi arrest and earn back his father’s respect? Or will it doom them all?
Cash back powered by RakutenDone