Review: There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett

Twin sisters Eva and Mana live surprisingly similar lives, in spite of the fact that they live on opposite sides of the world in very different countries. In Prague, Eva lives on a flat on the third floor with her grandson Ludek. In Melbourne, Mana lives on a flat on the third floor with her husband, Bill, and her granddaughter, Mala.  Both houses are filled with much warmth and love, though both Mana and Ludek are growing up in the shadow of events that occurred many years before they were born, events that shaped and determined the lives of both sisters--the one who stayed in Prague after 1938 and the one who escaped to England with the help of their father, and the one who stayed behind and saw their home change through a war it's aftermath and then the events of 1968.

Set in 1980 the stories of the two families are mostly told through the eyes of Mala and Ludek and are told in a way that is sparse but beautiful. No words are wasted as the author describes the freedom of childhood, gently contrasted against the horrors that were suffered by Eva and Mana. In the background, the author quietly shows the sense of dislocation that Mana and Bill (who once upon a time went by a different name,) experience in Melbourne, despite having lived there for so many years. After all, Australia can be a very cruel place at times.

Overall, this is a short and beautifully written read that highlights the innocence of childhood against the backdrop of an older generation who suffered greatly. A perfect read for anyone, but this one may be of particular interest to adolescents who are making the transition to reading adult literary fiction.

Highly recommended.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2020


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