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December 14 , 2007

Sins of the Innocent


In her first memoir-Immortelles: Memoir of a Will-o’-the-Wisp-Mireille Marokvia described her life growing up in a small village near Chartres, France, in the first decades of the 20th Century. We learned in that beautiful book that the people in her life so long past still live like ghosts in her memory.
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This extraordinarily sensitive and assured writer brings that same dear voice and sharp vision to bear in her new book. But Sins of the Innocent covers the most difficult years of her life.

From Paris in 1939, a young Mireille follows her artist husband, Abel, when he returns to Germany to care for his mother. Once Hitler begins his invasions across Europe the displaced couple must find a way to survive the war in a country they both consider foreign. Abel finally takes work, but it requires extensive travel through the war zones, and so Mireille is left essentially alone. With France lost to her, and horribly misfit in wartime Germany, suspected by her neighbors of spying for the Allies, Mireille has to define a life for herself, a life that is as quiet as possible in a dangerous world.

Sins of the Innocent is a lyrical portrait of those harsh years, infused with doubt, anger, and the author’s love of life. These were the years in which Mireille learned the difference between quiet persistence and courage-during WWII in Europe, a time when so many had to find their own small places in history. It was the era that determined who Mireille Marokvia was-and who she still is.

Read Mireille Marokvia’s account of the making of the manuscript in “History of a Story.”
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