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The Blue Bicycle Hardcover – April, 1986

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The little savage from Montillac" is what her suave lover Francois calls Lea, passionate heroine of this frankly lush, romantic novel of France during the war years 19391942. Daughter of a rich wine grower in Bordeaux, Lea sees her adored childhood sweetheart, Laurent, married to his cousin, namby-pamby Camille. Lea has lovers but never stops carrying the torch for Laurent, while tending pregnant Camille during Laurent's service at the front, holding down the family estate of Montillac, where Germans are billeted, and cycling through occupied checkpoints with messages for the Resistance. Deforges, a bestselling writer in France, gives us moving scenes of civilian panic and carnage and glimpses of Paris high life enjoyed by collaborators and black-marketeers. Radio broadcasts by the still unknown de Gaulle, and defeatist Petainhead of the Vichy puppet regimefire French patriotism and keep the underground going. Plenty of entertainment here, and echoes of Gone with the Wind, though it's hard to tell what lusty Lea sees in Laurent. Book two of this trilogy will come next year. 100,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This book has been compared to Gone with the Wind. It is that classic, modernized to World War II, with a French accent. In the first chapters the reader laughs to recognize people and plot elements created by Margaret Mitchell: the rebuff of Lea/Scarlett by Laurant/Ashley, his marriage to Camille/Melanie, the flight from burning Paris/Atlanta aided by Francois/Rhett. Most interesting is where the scene dictates such changes that Mitchell cannot be copied, and Deforges must use her own imagination. The "blue bicycle" is only a means of transportation until the end, when its function in smuggling letters between free and occupied France is revealed. The premise would have been satisfying without imitation, but the writing is juvenile and the book disappointing. Andrea Lee Shuey, Dallas P.L.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Lyle Stuart; 1st American Edition edition (April 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0818404027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0818404023
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a great description of France during the second world war. But it isn't only fiction. Indeed, except what happens to the main characters, everything is true. The resistance, the location, many people did exist... It is a very good lesson of history. But not only, there is also a wonderful love story, a few erotic scenes, a lot of humor... I really hope many people would read this book (and the 6 following ones not yet existing in English version). It lets you understand better what to be French is.
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Format: Hardcover
Growing up, I heard about the French resistance, but my impressions were largely the result of the public, post-war characterizations in films and books about the 'noble and brave' French partisan. Following the purchase of the 'Sorrow and the Pity' I had a lot of questions. I ran across 'The Devil Still Laughs', the third novel in this trilogy, and found it engrossing enough to purchase the first two and then reread the third a second time to better appreciate the conclusion of the story. If you have not read the three novels in the order in which they were written, the fabic of the story as the charicters weave in and out of Lea's life during the occupation cannot be fully appreciated. It is a French 'Gone with the Wind', and the plot line and character similarities are blatant--but none-the-less very enjoyable. At times sensual and humorous--the story is very dark, and the author is extremely successful at drawing the reader into the story. This is only a book that could have been written by a French author--anyone else would be called into question as anti-French. I know that there is some literary license on the part of the author in the characterizations, situations, and plot, but her detailed research is apparent. Real dates, actions and people are woven into the fabric of the narrative and it doesn't take much research to find out that Deforges' story is largely true, even if the primary characters are fictional. Get this book, get the others, read them. Profoundly affecting.
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Format: Hardcover
This book might be a lot like gone with the wind, however it is a great book about the French resistance and the horrible times the people in local wine regions in France had during wwII. The book is easy to read and to follow. The story is ficton but the locations are real. ONE QUESTION......were is the translation of the other books by Regina De'Forges?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The translation is very good. I read t he series in French and gave this and 2 following books to a non-francophone. Great book in any language to understand at gut level what it was to have lived in France during WWII.
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Format: Hardcover
First, I could not believe how you can take "Gone with the wind" and move it to France, publish it under your own name and get away wit it. Except the names, country, sex (worse than 50 shadesof G) and minor details, it is GWTW revisited. It has some merits however, life and war in France are described rather well and in general it is an enjoyable reading. It is OK and that's how I rated it.
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By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's true this book starts like Gone With The Wind but soon it becomes much more interesting and I find Lea much less annoying than Scarlett !
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Format: Hardcover
I happened upon this book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for years, and realized I had never read it. I was drawn into the story and love to read history from a fictional standpoint, but I feel like the slutty character of Lea ruins the book a bit for me. I think it goes a bit overboard with her sexual encounters which lack any real sense of love, and make her less appealing as a character. It almost makes the historical part of the book seem like a secondary feature to trying to create a steamy, cheap romance novel.
Not sure if I'll read the rest of the trilogy, for that reason.
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