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The Secret of the Blue Trunk Paperback – February 16, 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
$15.83 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

...touching and commendable... (Quill & Quire)

Dion’s reconstructed narrative offers a new (and specifically Quebecois) voice, one that is refreshingly direct and compulsively readable. (Montreal Review of Books)

The secrets Dion unravelled are so extraordinary, Armande’s tale so poignant, it made me think about the Diary of Anne Frank. The Secret of the Blue Trunk is a stellar Canadian biography.

(Toronto Star)

…painfully frank and absorbing, and in the end, difficult to put down. (Globe and Mail)

It is a terrible and tragic story that Dion has written, told in stark and straightforward words. (Waterloo Record)

It is pure, fast-paced narrative. (National Post)

About the Author

Lise Dion is one of Quebec’s best-loved humorists. Over the years she has written countless scripts and appeared many times on television as a dramatic actress. The Secret of the Blue Trunk, a bestseller in Quebec, is her first book, and will be made into a movie.

Liedewy Hawke has won both the Canada Council Translation Prize and the John Glassco Translation Prize, and has been nominated four times for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation (French to English). She lives in Toronto.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn; Tra edition (February 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1459704517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1459704510
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,099,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Had I known Armande's tale would take me into a first hand account of a Nazi camp, I would not have opened the book. That would have been my loss.
Lise Dion uncovers, after the death of her mother, four notebooks, hand written describing the life of young Armande Martel from her providential career as Nun, to her wildly exciting trip to Europe where she lives in a Convent, yes, but apprentices to master her chosen trade: seamstress.

Ignoring advice from more worldly people and having a Canadian passport land Martel in a Nazi camp.
Martel's positive attitude surfaces as one of the reasons for her survival: "So there was a positive side to this underground camp: since I no longer heard the blasts of explosions (air raids) I no longer wondered how many casualties the next bomb was going to cause." That and the care of the three women with whom she shared her mattress, and her life helped provide the emotional closeness necessary. It was their devotion to each other which built a protective wall around all four. It was their friendship, their commitment, their bond that fed their souls in the soulless underground of the Nazi munitions factory.

Details fall from Armande Martel's pen with a quiet intensity that demands notice. By understating her story: describing yes, the deprivations and degradations of her four years in the labor camp, such as having to strip and walk in front of the guards, or having to partake in the Lottery of Death, yet offering these descriptions in a sparse manner, the reader almost leans in, attends more deeply, empathizes more fully than with a dramatic rendering.

Although the Secret promised in the title reveals itself fully, the reader is equally riveted by the quiet intensity of Martel's writing style. Get the book. Read the story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My mother's Aunt was a Scottish nun in France at the outbreak of the war and like Armande was sent to a concentration camp. I thank Mme Dion so much for an insight into the horrors my great-aunt must have survived. Like Schindler's List, this book reminds us that we can not gloss over the inhumanities of the past if we hope to prevent them recurring. This book is also such an homage to the unbelievable strength of the "weaker sex" -- the indomitable spirit of Armande and the other women. Beautifully written, the reader finds themself drawn in; I found I couldn't put it down. Such a worthwhile read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is very well written and very pleasant to read. I was disappointed discovering that the blue trunk and the journals were invented. This raises the doubt about what is true and what is fiction. I hope that at least the dates are real.
Maybe it would have been better for the writer to tell the readers in some preface or post-face what is true and what is fiction.
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Format: Paperback
Story Description:

Dundurn|February 16, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1459704510

In this true story, Armande Martel, a young nun from Quebec, is arrested by the Germans in 1940 during a stay at her religious order's mother house in Brittany. She spends the war years in a German concentration camp. After her return to Canada, she leaves the Church, finds the love of her life in Montreal, and adopts, Lise Dion.

Growing up, Lise is familiar with only a few facts of her mother's past. It's when she clears her mother's small apartment after her death that Lise Dion discovers the key to the blue trunk, which was always locked. This key unlocks the mystery of Armande's early life, and Lise decides to write The Secret of the Blue Trunk.

My Review:

Lise Dion had been trying to phone her mother, Armande for two days but didn't get an answer. Worried, she phoned the superintendent of her building and asked him if he would mind going to her apartment and checking on her. The superintendent was more than happy to do that for her and said he'd call her back in fifteen minutes.

Half an hour later, Lise still hadn't heard back from him and she was worried sick that something was very wrong. Finally, after forty minutes he called her back and told her to come to her mother's apartment right away. He wouldn't tell her over the phone why.

When, Lise drove up in front of her mother's apartment building she saw police and paramedics. She found out her mother had been dead for two days. She had died from a pulmonary embolism and had lost consciousness immediately so hadn't suffered which was a relief for, Lise.
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