The Children's Crusade: A Novel - Ann Packer

Wow, I have got to get some mindless summer beach reads, because everything I’ve read lately has been thought-provoking and kind of deep, and I am getting tired! But still. This book has about a 3.5 average after thousands of reviews, and I am torn, because at times I just loved it, and at other times I really wanted it to be over. There was an overwhelming sadness to this story despite some funny parts, and the tension, fueled by regret and inaction, was almost palpable. This is a familiar story for the time and place: a couple that marries and quickly becomes a family, only to realize too late that perhaps that was not what they each truly desired. As a mother, it is painful for me to read about another woman who becomes a mother despite the fact that this is probably a bad idea, worse still to read about one who goes on to have four children.


But this story is much more complicated than that, and the mother, while a fairly easy target, is not the only guilty party in this family drama. This is probably the reason why it was difficult to read — everyone in this family had a share in the guilt, the issues they struggled with were never as cut and dried as they first appeared. The family members were believable; their lives were identifiable and relatable, and seemed honest in their successes and their defeats. So yes, I really did like this story. I did not love all the characters, and possibly I did not love some that the author intended me to love. It is one of those deeply sad, but often lyrical stories that, while you may not love it, you will not regret reading it.