The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War, by Marina Osipova, is an excellently written story that draws the reader through every page of this bitter love story, set in World War II and post-war Russia. It is the dramatic and realistic rendering of one young girl’s journey, through German occupation, to post-war trauma and the fight to find relevance and happiness in life again. This is a haunting tale, beautifully scripted and laced with wonderfully composed metaphors and descriptive passages that turn an otherwise dark and heinous period of human history, into something that is palatable and at times, even simplistically beautiful. It is an historical fiction, and certainly, provides an insight into what life was like in Russia during the German invasion, and the Stalinistic society that evolved in the aftermath of the war. A gripping, somewhat tragic, and yet, mesmerizing tale of love and war.
Book review by author Réal Laplaine