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Book Review: Fact and fiction woven into a gripping tale

The author does an impressive job of interlacing her parents' lives together.
see-you-in-letouquet-by-romie-christie
One of the many things that make this book so hard to put down is the author’s ability to pull you into the story with the tiny details.

“See You in Le Touquet: A Memoir of War and Destiny”

By Romie Christie

Published by DriverWorks Ink

$24.95 ISBN 9781927570845

If any book should be made into a movie, it’s this one.

See You in Le Touquet reads like a gripping historical fiction novel but it is a true story. Retired Canadian journalist Romie Christie tells the story of her inspiring parents, Sandy and Dorothy, in this fascinating peek into their lives.

As Christie points out in the About This Story section in the back of See You in Le Touquet, this is a work of creative nonfiction. “It is based on fact, with some creativity and imagination woven into the story… Throughout this book, I have endeavoured to stay as true to actual events as I was able.” For the parts of the timeline that Christie didn’t have firsthand knowledge of, she assembled the information via personal essays Sandy had written, Le Touquet history books, Dorothy’s diaries, photos, historians, and stories from the family members and friends of her parents.

The cast of characters in See You in Le Touquet is lengthy as many people weave in and out of Dorothy and Sandy’s lives. If you struggle to remember who’s who as I did, a list of the players is near the back of the book starting on page 213. It was an invaluable help as I made my way from 1915 to 2005 and into the years after the deaths of Sandy and Dorothy.

Christie does an impressive job of interlacing her parents' lives together. But that isn’t surprising considering that she was a journalist and producer with CBC Radio for almost two decades where she worked on bringing countless stories to life. Her experience with storytelling shines through in this triumphant work.

One of the many things that make this book so hard to put down is Christie’s ability to pull you into the story with the tiny details; they flesh out events in an intimate way that breeds familiarity. For example, the description of the obsession with jazz in Paris in the late 1930s. Heart-warming stories of Dorothy’s beloved dog, Bruce. Specifics about vehicle models, landmine placements, and the two-term Army university course at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, etc.

My favourite snippet in the book occurred when Sandy met Dorothy for the first time and thought to himself: “I’m just a boy from Saskatchewan!” And Dorothy’s thoughts thirty seconds later when she learned where he was from: “Canada! Even more exotic than America!” (Dorothy and Sandy don’t meet until two-thirds of the way through the book; that’s how engrossing their backstories are.)

Christie sums See You in Le Touquet up best in her blurb: “Theirs is a story of war, love, and peace. A story for the ages.” I give it two radiant thumbs up!

This book is available at your local bookstore or from www.skbooks.com