Review: When the Bough Breaks by Connie Monk

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What’s It About?

When Dennis and Kathie fall in love and start creating a working farm, they can only imagine a wonderful life together.  But when World War II is declared everything starts to change as Dennis leaves to fight, leaving Kathie to manage the farm herself.  Soon after, another tragedy strikes the family and neither Dennis nor Kathie know how to deal with it; their sorrow and grief wedges them apart rather than bringing them closer together.  Can they learn to live with one another the way they used to, or have they both been changed by the events too much?

My Thoughts:

When I picked it up, this seemed like a typical story of how the war forced couples and families apart, but now I am not so sure.  While the back cover implies that it is only the war that causes problems, there is another event that overshadows it.  I think the author would have done better by choosing one event or the other to explore, as this book wasn’t long enough to fully give the effects of each event.

There are many events (some linked to the war, others that aren’t) that change who Kathie and Dennis are, and therefore have an effect on their relationship.  However, for me, I found it difficult believing in their relationship before they had to deal with war and tragedy.  I felt frustrated as, while the characters seemed to think they were the opposite sides of the same coin, it was clear from their actions, thoughts and words that they didn’t truly love each other (in my opinion).  Lacking this fundamental relationship, I found it difficult to care what happened to it, which is what the entire story is based around.

Despite this, I did find I enjoyed seeing how events and other people can change a person.  This book is filled with various loving relationships, all around the theme of family, and that is what I liked about the story.  I do feel that due to the number of characters, not all relationships or characters are properly explored, and I have been left with the feeling that everything seemed to end up a little too conveniently for my taste.  The ending doesn’t quite seem to fit the nature of change that is followed throughout the story, though admittedly it is hinted at.

While this book was a fairly quick and relaxing read, I felt that for its genre it was unable to stir deep emotions within me that would have allowed me to appreciate the awfulness of the tragedies.  Therefore I can’t recommend it when there are so many amazing books out there that you could be reading.  However, this story would probably suit someone who is interested in the home war effort (though this isn’t explored that thoroughly), or wishes to explore the idea of family and what it means.

Overall rating: 2.5/5

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