Review: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis de Bernieres

Read: 54
To Go: 46

Book List:
51. The Overlook — Michael Connelly
52. Chasing The Dime — Michael Connelly
53. Sweet Talk — Julie Garwood
54. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis de Bernieres

“Top 50 38 Romantic Lines” read: 8/38

It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracized by the locals, but as a conscientious but far from fanatical soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous — and a consummate musician.

When the local doctor’s daughter’s letters to her fiance — a member of the underground — go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable. But can this fragile love survive as a war of bestial savagery gets closer and the lines are drawn between invader and defender?

Romantic Quote: “When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No … don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!” (de Bernieres 344-45)

It is late and I am tired, so this is going to be short and sweet (as these reviews often are). Though Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was excessively long (I really think some characters and chapters could have been easily eliminated, as they were mostly unnecessary), I really did love it. If you’re keeping track, this is only the second book on the Stylist list that I’ve actually enjoyed. Progress?

Anyway, I’m sure you all know by this point that I’m a bit of a sucker for a historical-romance (or just a historical novel, or just a romance), so Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was right up my alley. Not only that, but it was funny — like, laugh-out-loud funny! I wish I’d thought to make note of some of the quotes that made me laugh (though, if I did, the book would have been littered with sticky notes). Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was a novel that had me giggling one moment, and feeling all emotional the next.

Aside from that, I’m always captivated by books that are set in WWII — especially ones that focus on a country that isn’t normally talked about in terms of the second world war. Louis de Berniere’s rendering of Greece under Italian — and then Nazi — occupation was just as phenomenal as Daniel Kalla’s picture of Shanghai during WWII.

On a more administrative note, I think it’s becoming quite clear that I won’t be finishing the Stylist reading list this year. (I’m only 8 books in, 30 books to go, and it’s mid-August. Yeah, this isn’t happening.) I think I’ll carry the challenge over into next year, and hopefully finish it then.

Next book: Angels Flight — Michael Connelly

– Kelsey

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