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Carpe Librum

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Historical Novel Society

Review: The Ledger by Lloyd Holm

The Ledger - Lloyd Holm

I really wanted to enjoy this book. How could I go wrong with a family epic spanning both World Wars? The author includes impeccable historical detail and accuracy. Though it only covers a limited portion of each war, what is presented is done so very well. The story of the Christmas truce of 1914 is an amazing part of history and serves as the beginning of the joined family history between the Krueger and Ferrand families.

This book begins in 1982 and then the family's story is told through the patriarch of the family. This beginning served little purpose other than to take away any suspense from the daring rescue that takes place at the end of the book. We already know who is going to survive. However, I don't necessarily need suspense to enjoy a novel. I read about historical characters all the time and know exactly when and how they died.

The bond that is formed between Andre Ferrand and Konrad Kruger survives to bring their children together decades later, despite the fact that they do not meet again. The idea that an enduring friendship could be built between two men on opposing sides of two wars is one that gives hope and is an enlightening read.

Though I enjoyed the story, there was too much repetition. Someone would say something and then another would translate, or something would happen and then it would be written about in a letter. Then, at the end of the book, the whole story is summarized in the form of a very lengthy wedding toast. Once is sufficient. If a reader truly needs to refresh their memory, they can flip back a couple of pages to where it happened the first time.

The Ledger has an interesting premise, but it failed to fully capture my interest.