PositiveHistorical Novel SocietyThese characters are likeable and sympathetic. Initially their connections aren’t clear, but as the story develops, their storylines merge and blend nicely. The narrative is told with a sense of detachment, but its episodic nature remains gripping as it transitions between the characters. This novel brings so much to light of the evil taking place in Africa, not only under colonialism but the cruelty of Africans against their own.
PositiveThe Historical Novel SocietyThis fictionalized, inside view from a Mao devotee is compelling. Outside this world, Mei could be seen as foolish and star-struck, but she is a victim of the insidious propaganda campaigns and the culture around her. Her growth and gradual realization of the truth of the real Mao turns her into a fierce woman of strength.
MixedHistorical Novel SocietyThe character of Roz is inconsistent. She wavers between a strong, independent woman as a female physicist and a typical woman of the 1950s, ready to bend and please her man while falling into his arms when she meets danger. This book is equal parts romance and spy novel. The romance overshadows the more important issue of Rosalind’s struggle with her role in the building of the atomic bomb and the gray areas of right or wrong in using it to end the war, but the spy narrative keeps the pages turning.
RaveHistorical Novel SocietyIn 1952, 10-year-old Kya Clark is growing up in the coastal marshes of North Carolina, alone and abandoned. Her Ma walked out of her life. Her brothers and sisters drifted away to their own lives. Finally, her drunken Pa leaves. In 1969, the body of Chase Andrews, the town’s golden boy, is discovered in the marsh. Was it an accident or murder? ... The story alternates between Kya’s life growing up in the marsh and the death investigation until the two storylines merge in 1969 and a murder trial in 1970 ... Owens adeptly alternates plotlines, which creates the anticipation of what is to come. Both Kya and the marsh are the main characters of this immersive and moving story of love and belonging mixed with mystery and suspense.
Eugene Vodolazkin, Trans. by Lisa C. Hayden
RaveHistorical Novel SocietyInnokenty is an intriguing character who stoically and bravely faces what has happened in the past and what his life is now. There are two beautiful love stories ... This book also addresses the possibilities of science and what scientific advances can do to us as humans. I loved this story in diary entries ... This format made the pages fly by. A brilliant, thought-provoking read.