If you are fond of World War II stories and enjoyed Gone with the Wind, Art of the Home recommends “The Blue Bicycle” (La Bicyclette Bleue) by Régine Deforges. “The Blue Bicycle” was a bestseller in the 1980’s in France and became an international bestseller as well.
It is a romantic novel in a captivating historical setting — World World II in France. The reader follows the heroine Léa Delmas, the young daughter of a rich Bordeaux wine maker from 1939 thru 1942. The author takes you inside the lives of French people during the German occupation. France has many stories about the occupation and the French resistance, it is part of its historical and cultural make up. This book does justice in capturing the mood of this period. There is no question that the book is very similar to Gone with the Wind as far as the characters and the plot. Lea is as passionate as Scarlett and can be seen as a 20th century French Scarlett in a way. Some pundits have criticized those similarities but having read both books and having heard many family stories about France during the second World War, I think Régine Deforges successfully captured this moment in history and that stands on its own. This book is moving, and interesting — quite an enjoyable read.
If you are interested in how Lea’s life continues througout the war. Below are the titles of each book in the World War II trilogy:
- Book 1: The Blue Bicycle (Tome 1: La Bicyclette Bleue)
- Book 2: Lea (Tome 2: 101, avenue Henri-Martin, 1942-1944)
- Book3: The Devil Laughs Again (Tome 3: Le diable en rit encore, 1944-1945)
Lea’s story continues after the end of war. Régine Deforge wrote another 7 books (last one covering the 1964-1967 period) but I have not seen them available in English.
Enjoy and happy reading!