Printed Bravery in The Ventriloquists | Spoiler-Free Review

The Ventriloquists by E.R. Ramzipoor

5 Star Rating System 4 and a half stars

The Ventriloquists.jpeg

Genre: Historical Fiction [WWII]
Author: E.R. Ramzipoor
Published: August 2019
Publisher: Park Row
Pages: 544 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads

Big thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review!

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

I mean, first up, I somehow didn’t know until the end of this book that this is actually based off a true story which is AMAZING. I really enjoyed this! We have a beautiful cast of characters with some wonderful personalities that really came to life on the page. It is a bold story and a classic, inspiring tale of war times heroes on the home front.


The Ventriloquists

The Ventriloquists is set in Belgium during World War II. It follows a group of characters involved with a newspaper called Front de l’Indépendance. The Nazis are eager to brainwash the people of Belgium against the Allies by having them portrayed, through propaganda, negatively. So they come up with the idea that they will use these people from Front de l’Indépendance to orchestrate such a feat.

Naturally, none of them is wanting to simply do this and help the Germans out. Our group of characters includes an enigmatic man by the name of Marc Aubrion who is largely credited with pulling off the plan they set in motion. Instead of creating a newspaper that the Germans wanted, they planned to use the time and supplies (all knowing that they would likely be executed at the completion of the mission regardless) to create a joke: a newspaper that looks like Le Soir (the newspaper they were commandeering) but instead, made fun of the Germans and gave the everyday man something to laugh about again.

And so, with the help of many friends and told through the narration of an old lady, many years after the events, in an interview with a young girl, we slowly unravel the story of what actually happened in those 18 days when the team had to work day and night to pull off this feat.


Why I Loved It

I’ve always been a huge sucker for WWII books that present a new, inspiring story of brave people to me. Often, I’ve come across books like The Red Ribbon, The Librarian of Auschwitz and The Butterfly and the Violin that have all taught me new things about the concentration camps.

But the thing I really love are books like The Ventriloquists that tell us the unsung stories of the home front – this was as exciting, eye-opening and enjoyable to read as Kristin Hannah’s, The Nightingale.

The characters in this story are highly likeable, also. Aubrion is a whirlwind of energy that sucks you up and keeps you close until the very last pages. I can’t imagine anyone not smiling through his bright moments and all the nonsense he babbles on about.

Lada was also another favourite of mine. A smuggler and a prostitute, she is a fierce and loyal character who really does stand up for what she believes in. Not only that, but she brings in some LGBT+ representation for us and ties us to another strong (although not quite as strong) female character, Andree. It is always inspiring to have both strong men and women standing at the front of a big tale like this one.

Gamin was a really interesting perspective as well. We learn very early on that the old lady being interviewed is actually Gamin and her story is slowly elaborated on throughout the book. It was an interesting voice to add to the mix and it held a surprising amount of weight considering that Ramzipoor knew next to nothing about the real Gamin. The stories that authors can weave into real tales like this one, doing outstanding jobs of complimenting and embellishing what we know without making anything unrealistic, is incredible.


Why You’ll Love It

I think the bottom line with this book is simply that it’s a very easy read. I wanted nothing more than to curl up with it and a cup of tea after each workday and be re-absorbed back into the story. It’s one of those books where you become highly invested in it and just love diving back into.

If you’re a lover of Kristin Hannah’s works in particular, then I would be highly recommending this book to you. However, I feel that despite being historical fiction (I say that for those of you who may not be so keen on the genre as I am), this is a reader-friendly story that I think many, many people will enjoy. Aubrion’s character is so bright and intriguing that if you love quirky characters – especially the ones that tend to crop up in YA fiction – then you’ll love this book just for Aubrion alone.


Summary

Evidently, I could sing this book’s praises for some time to come. I can’t wait to read more by Ramzipoor because this was brilliant story-telling. I enjoyed every page, I lapped up the tension as the deadline crept ever closer for the characters and I felt all the tragic pangs of the heart when tragedy befell any of them. A big thumbs up from me!


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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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3 thoughts on “Printed Bravery in The Ventriloquists | Spoiler-Free Review

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