There was no war in this section! But lots of romance. Sort of. I think this book is kind of weird for me in that I feel very far removed from everything going on and I have no particular feelings about these couples and if they end up together or not and I feel so sorry for all the girls because of how completely out of their own control their lives are.
Like...Prince Andrei being all, "I'm giving you a year to decide if you really want to marry me because you are far too young to actually just know your own mind and heart! and btw, THIS IS A BIG SECRET" Meanwhile, he first notices Natasha for the simple reason that she doesn't care that he exists and is happy and carefree. LOL. Also, eye roll inducing. Plus, I was confused about when he went to see her and his feelings supposedly changed from being bright and poetic to duty bound or something. Was I just reading it wrong? I felt so completely sorry for her when she was lamenting how he seemed to have this whole other life apart from her while she was wasting away waiting for him. The story of being female, I tell you! Plus, I thought the parts where she imagined someone talking about her, like, "Natasha is so bright," etc. to be telling of the performance culture..it isn't so much who you are but how you appear to others.
Then there's poor Sonya who seems completely lovely and is unfortunate to be in love with Rostov. Yet she's penniless and because apparently the Rostovs also have not done a very good job with their money, they don't want her to marry their son. So she loses her good relationship with them, but if she doesn't marry him, she loses the man she loves. :( Plus, she's been sitting around waiting for him, ugh. It's just unfair how little they think of her circumstances.
And poor Princess Mayra tries to derive comfort from religion, but can't because while faith is a guide and an aid, it can't actually replace necessary human relationships. Aw, but I feel for her trying to do what she perceives as right which is very centered around a notion of self-sacrifice, which was also appealing to Sonya, sigh and sad.
Plus, I was kind of turned off by the men being all, "ugly women are more faithful" and the idea that Helene had tricked everyone into thinking she was clever when she wasn't actually, etc. Brutal couple of sections for the women!
Rostov did provide some comic relief, what the the obligated idleness of being in the military and going around bossing people around when he has no idea what's going on.
The hunting section lost me a little bit, but I was glad it wasn't too long. I guess we needed an injection of violence in our peaceful times.
So overall the sections were really easy to read for me but I'm not sure I actually enjoyed them. You?
Also, I know it's getting to be a slog this time of year to continue on with such a big book and some people are dropping out :( What can I do to encourage you and make it more fun? I was thinking maybe we could have a Russian recipe exchange or something next month. Let me know what you think!