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Reviewed by Risah Salazar for Readers' Favorite
Lily Campbell's family is falling apart. Her older sister, Adele, was kidnapped by a Nazi captain. Her father, afraid of putting them in more danger, sends her and her mother to America while he stayed in France to look for Adele. To say that life in America had been tough for Lily is an understatement. She was forced to adapt and grow up quickly, instead of enjoying her teenage years. Ninon, on the other hand, is a dancer in a French cabaret. For some reason, she has been recruited by a patron to be a special agent. After months of rigorous training, she becomes an adept sniper and begins to work on secret missions. With the setting of the Second World War, Sketches of Life by A. Gavazzoni will make you cry, fall in love, and never give up on life.
This is a story of love and survival and an emotionally heavy one at that. The book alternates between Lily's and Ninon's points of view. With this kind of approach, we get to know and relate to the two protagonists on a deeper level. Looking back, it was a good story and the revelation at the end was jaw-dropping. The romance was not forced, although some scenes were a bit exaggerated. The narrative was developed well and the pacing was just right. This is such a feminist book and I love how A. Gavazonni created the characters of Lily and Ninon. They were both strong and versatile amidst adversities. Trigger warnings include cancer, dementia, violence, mental health stigma, cheating, and suicide.