Book Review: The Great Alone

greataloneIf anyone can write a train wreck in a beautiful setting, it’s Kristin Hannah. Her books take the tough situations of life and show us that there is always something to learn from them. This story is set in Alaska in the late 70’s, a time when Americans were fragile and still reeling from the Vietnam war. The Albright family are seeking a fresh start, but as they make their way to the Great Alone there is an underlying sense of doom as we observe the dynamics of this vulnerable family trying to settle in. Ernt, the husband and father, is a Vietnam veteran and ex-POW treating his obvious PTSD with alcohol. Being a kid who grew up in the 80’s, I can remember hearing about the men who returned from Vietnam, damaged and bruised by circumstances beyond their control. As bad as they were, nobody thought to get help. It’s sad to think how many families were destroyed by it.

The heroes of the story are the women. Cora and Leni were trapped in hell for years, enduring abuse and isolation from reality by a man they loved. That in and of itself is traumatic, but add the wild and unknown setting of Alaska, and you have a gripping page-turner of a story with tragedies that come one after the other. It is a nonstop, action-packed, dramatic story only Kristin Hannah could write.

Why do we torture ourselves by reading of such devastating circumstances? Because it’s in these stories that we learn about perseverance. This book brought out so many emotions in me: Love of the setting and the community (Large Marge is a riot) but hated all of the awful ways Ernt ruined his daughter’s life. I appreciate the care in which Hannah approached this story. I imagine it wasn’t easy, but I’m glad she wrote it.

 

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Books that I rated 5 Stars in 2018

For many years now, I’ve been using goodreads to track my reading. As much as I read, it is helpful for me to have a way to look up authors or titles from my phone app or while I’m at my computer writing reviews. The rating system on goodreads uses a star method to allow readers a way to rank the books they read. 1 star means “I did not like it”, 2 stars means “It was ok”, 3 stars means “I liked it”, 4 stars means “I really liked it” and 5 stars are for books you think are amazing! Here are a few books I read and rated 5 stars in 2018, in no particular order.

Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

harrys trees

This book was sooo fun! It reminded me of the books I read as a kid, full of make-believe and adventure. The main characters are Harry, a forestry worker who is grieving the loss of his wife, and Oriana, a young girl who lost her father in an accident and now spends most of her time in this amazing tree house her father built in the forest behind their home. These two lost souls find each other in the forest and the story that ensues will melt your heart and make you believe in humanity again.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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This book. I can’t begin to describe it in a short blurb, except to say it affected me deeply.  The story begins in the 1950’s and covers a span of 20 years. Part coming-of-age story, part murder mystery, and part love story, Where The Crawdads Sing will blow you away. Abandoned by her mother, her siblings, and the community in which she lives, Kya Clark learns to survive on her own in the North Carolina swamps from a very young age. There is a little bit of something for every taste in this book: memorable characters, breathtaking scenery, smart writing, suspense, social commentary, and more.  Delia Owens is a wildlife scientist by trade, but her crossover into writing fiction is effortless. She has portrayed the marsh as one of the main characters in this story; you will be mesmerized by her incredible prose as she brings nature and young Kya to life. Easiest 5 stars I’ve ever given. If this doesn’t become a movie, I will be shocked!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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An American Marriage tells the story of how a newly married black couple’s lives are upended when the man is wrongly accused of rape and thrown in jail. Jones has taken a very real problem in this country and crafted a powerful, thought-provoking novel. She uses a combination of letters, realistic dialogue, and metaphors to tell the story of an average black American marriage today in the face of injustice. It was believable in its exploration of loyalty, sacrifice, resilience, and love. I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

Educated by Tara Westover

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Listen, I know EVERYONE is raving about this book, but it really is justified. Tara Westover’s memoir is gripping from page one. We get a glimpse into the life of a girl who was raised without a mainstream education. At seventeen, she took matters into her own hands, studying enough to get accepted to Brigham Young University, then to Cambridge University and Harvard. She shares every struggle, triumph, and heartbreak with extreme detail. Some of the scenes will take your breath away. After all that she went through, I didn’t get a sense that this was supposed to be a “tell all” book about her extremist religion or that she was bitter in any way. She writes with candor but also with a deep understanding of her family’s actions. The last chapter was the most touching as she returned to her home. It shows that even after making a new life for herself, she still longed for a connection with her family. The end is not what you expect. I recommend this to anyone who has struggled with their identity and still looking for their place in the world. This story will give you the courage to break free from what is holding you back.

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfield

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I love Curtis Sittenfield’s writing, so I had to check this out, even though I don’t usually read short stories. I actually really enjoyed it. Sittenfield’s writing is so engaging and conversational; I felt like I was listening to a friend tell me about an experience they had in their past. I was amazed at how much emotion she captured in so few words. I think this book will appeal to women my age who often wonder if they are still the same person they were back in the, say, 90’s. They will relate to the cringe-worthy memories and the awkward moments of young adulthood. I found myself relating to many of the stories, even if the scenarios weren’t the same, I experienced the same feelings. It made me feel somehow validated in my awkwardness.

 

Best Books I Read in 2018 – Historical Fiction Edition

As you’ve heard me say before, I read a wide variety of genres so when I set out to create a top ten list, it’s hard to compare apples to apples. That being said, I am grouping my top reads from 2018 by genre. These are the best new historical fiction novels I read in 2018.

#5 – Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

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This is Rindell’s third novel and I absolutely loved it! She takes something from history that hasn’t been written about – barnstorming in the 40’s – and creates an engrossing story that captures the time and people perfectly. Let me try to explain. It starts with a mystery. Two bi-planes crash resulting in two deaths in front of investigators who are looking for the victims. The rest of the plot takes you back through the years leading up to the crash and reveals secrets behind those involved. You learn about the history of the bi-plane, the circus-like profession of flying stuntmen, and also the effects of the Japanese internment camps on Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I know it sounds like a lot of randomness but I promise you that Rindell is a master storyteller.

#4 – The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

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The Summer Wives  bounces between 1930, 1951 and 1969. Told in alternating time periods between 2 women, it is a story revolving around two very different families on an exclusive island in New England. Winthrop Island consists of the upper crust who come in the summer months and the poor Portuguese working class who live there year-round. Williams is known for her ability to expertly write atmospheric novels, making the reader feel as if they are in that time period. This one is no exception: the way she establishes the setting and drama mixed with romance and mystery made me feel as if I were a member of the cast of characters. I am a Beatriz fan for life.

#3 – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

evelynhugo

Old Hollywood romance, drama, and scandal written by a smart author! I love when I stumble upon great books like this; it was supposed to be a “fun” read (and it was) but I was surprised by the quality. I shouldn’t be surprised; Taylor Jenkins Reid is a phenomenal writer. You may wonder if Evelyn Hugo is a real person. She’s actually not  but TJR’s writing sounds like a memoir by a once famous actress reminiscing about her many loves. The story is so heartbreaking and believable. It reminds me that Hollywood stars are always acting, in life and in front of the camera. We never know what’s real and what’s not.

#2 – The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel

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The Room on Rue Amelie is set in Paris during WWII and tells the story of an American woman, her Jewish neighbors, and a British pilot meeting under unfortunate circumstances. If it sounds similar to The Nightingale, it is, but only in that there is a network of resistance fighters helping downed pilots escape occupied France. This book affected me differently than most historical fiction dealing with the tragedy of WWII. I never got the sense that the war was going to be the end of the story. I guess you could compare it to sitting with a beloved grandparent, listening to them tell their life story. There may have been terrible setbacks during their lives, but you know how the story ends. They overcome. Remember how much everyone loved The Notebook? It wrecked us but we knew they persevered because it starts with Jack telling the story; we see them as old people near the end of their lives. You will get the same feeling with this story.

#1 – A Well Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

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This novel transports us back to high society in New York City during the late 1800’s, and gives a biographical history of how Alva Smith broke the rules and used her marriage to W.K. Vanderbilt to make a difference. I am embarrassed to admit I knew nothing of the Vanderbilt family history before reading this. I feel like maybe I got the “behind the scenes” story instead of the public image they maintained. Fowler does a great job depicting this woman’s life being married to a Vanderbilt. I was so shocked to hear that Alva doesn’t necessarily have a positive reputation among historians. The approach she took to make us be sympathetic towards Alva worked. I empathized with her struggles to be seen as a strong, competent woman despite the social norms she was living in. I admired the way she just went for it, no matter what people thought (especially the other women!)

I highly recommend you read this book if you’re interested in this era, especially in the lives of the rich and famous. You’ll recognize several famous family names, such as Astor, Belmont, and Churchill. It is a welcome departure from the norm; it is a well-researched, yet entertaining story of a woman who took control of her life and found happiness despite being a woman in a man’s world.

The historical fiction I chose this year were all well done. I could have included more but I still have so many in other genres I want to share. Stay tuned for the next group!

Best Books I Read in 2018 – Thriller Edition

According to goodreads, I clocked in a total of 95 books read in 2018 – that’s 10 more than I had planned to read this year. I am amazed at how easy it is to accomplish something like that when you’re intentional about how you spend your time. I really don’t read for hours and hours each day, but I do set aside time to read everyday. Sometimes it’s only an hour before bed, and sometimes I have a whole Sunday afternoon free. It’s different every week. The important thing is that I don’t go a day without reading.

I noticed something about my reading life recently. I do not stick to a particular genre when choosing what to read. My tastes are wide-reaching. You might see me reading a thriller one day and a biography the next, or science fiction, or romance, or history; I have no problem reading any of them as long as it is good writing.  My first choice, however, is mystery/suspense. I have loved mysteries since I was very young, when I first read Nancy Drew. I like a good “whodunit.” These days I read a lot of psychological thrillers. (Ever since I read Gone Girl, I have been hooked!) Fortunately, this is a genre that has really taken off; there is no shortage of good options out there. On that note, I thought I’d share with you the best new thrillers I read this year.

#5 – Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

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Ellison knows how to craft a smart, addicting page-turner. On the outside, it looks like a typical thriller. Famous skiier needs stem cell transplant; parents discover they’re not a match; a search for the truth. Was she switched at birth? Did someone in the family cover up a miscarriage and kidnap the baby? Where are the real parents? There are so many things going on but Ellison doesn’t convolute it. There’s a little bit of everything in this story. Drama, suspense, murder, romance, forensic science, genetics, mental illness awareness, among other shocking twists. If you are interested, I suggest just diving right in; don’t read the reviews at the risk of accidentally stumbling upon spoilers. This book is best read blindly.

#4 – When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

lights out

Kubica wrote an addictive, yet hypnotic story about a mother and her daughter. It is told in alternating timelines with each of the characters taking a lead role. It starts in present day with the daughter, Jessie, dealing with the death of her mother after taking care of her for several years. Once her mother dies, she finds herself alone and with no real plans for her life. She enrolls in community college and discovers her social security number is that of a deceased child. Then we begin the suspenseful journey of her trying to find out the truth. The chapters alternate back to 1996 when her mother was newly married and struggling with infertility. More suspense is introduced as she becomes obsessed with having a child. So many themes to unpack here: cancer, death, grief, marital issues, in-vitro, parenting while single, and the list goes on. When I say she builds suspense throughout the book, I’m not joking. I was actually concerned halfway in when the plot was still being developed. I worried that it was going to be anti-climactic. I was wrong. The ending is such a surprise that I had to sit the book down and process it.

#3 – Lies by T.M. Logan

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One of the worst feelings in life is finding out you were lied to. The embarrassment, the shame, the anger from being deceived. Joe Lynch has to endure that over and over in this story. Is his wife cheating on him or is someone targeting them in a social media smear campaign? Being that this book is Logan’s debut as a novel author, I wasn’t expecting anything great (just being honest) but he really proved himself as a solid thriller writer. Some of my favorite reads have been just like this one – fast-paced, plot-driven psychological suspense. This story is written well, too. The twist at the end was one of the best I’ve experienced in a while!

#2 – Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

bring me back

B.A. Paris set the bar high with her first book, Behind Closed Doors. It is still one of my favorite psychological thrillers. Her latest one is just as sinister, and it really dialed up the psychological elements. It was one of those stories that gets in your head and makes you think even after you put it down for the night (if you can!) She keeps you guessing until the very end. It felt a little Hitchcockian the way it was told. If I had any criticism it would be the ending. I was hoping for something more dramatic, especially after messing with my head like it did. I will caution you, though, this book is not for everyone. If you’re looking for a traditional suspense/thriller this one may not be the one for you.

#1 – A TIE!!! The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

wifebetweenanonymous

Ok, so I cheated. I included a book that hasn’t been released yet but it was one I read an advance copy of in 2018. These two books were written by the same authors and I couldn’t pick a favorite of the two. They are both deliciously creepy.

The Wife Between Us will seem like an ordinary story about a jealous ex-wife who seeks revenge. It is so much more. Everything you expect will be completely wrong. The ending will make you feel like you need to start all over to figure out how you missed the signs. It’s that tricky.

Then there’s the next book…

“You’re Invited: Seeking women aged 18 to 32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality conducted by a preeminent NYC psychiatrist. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. Call for more details.”

This is how the An Anonymous Girl  begins, and how our protagonist gets involved in a cat and mouse game disguised as a psychiatric study. I can’t tell you how many times I got goosebumps while reading this! I was completely unaware that my perception was being manipulated at every turn. Once I realized what was happening, I couldn’t put it down; I had to ride it out and see who was going to outsmart the other.

These are only five (six!) of the books I read and loved this year. I have so many favorites I decided to share them in groups by genre. Stay tuned for the next five!

2019 Book Club Reading List

Month Title Author
January The Great Alone Kristin Hannah
February Love Walked In Marisa De Los Santos
March Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Gail Honeyman
April The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
May Every Note Played Lisa Genova
June The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon
July Lookaway, Lookaway Wilton Barnhardt
August Salt to the Sea Ruta Sepetys
September The Innocent Man John Grisham
October The Thirteenth Tale Diane Setterfield
November Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore Robin Sloan
December The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger

The Reader

I really never intended to read this book. All I really knew about it was that the subject matter was a bit…uncomfortable. The story is told by a grown man named Michael who grew up in post-war Germany and had an ongoing affair with a 35 year old woman when he was only 15. However, it’s more than a story of sex. This is a story about love, betrayal, and coming to terms with the past.

With only 215 pages, this book packs a LOT of content in very few words. I was surprised how strongly I was affected by it. I’ve read a lot of fiction set during World War II, but this was unlike any of them. It actually starts in the late 1950s and spans both of their lifetimes. Most of the book is spent in adult Michael’s head as he deals with the shocking discovery that his former lover was a Auschwitz guard. I would love to say I hated the female character (Hanna) but I actually felt for her. I doubt she intended to work in a concentration camp, and she definitely didn’t choose the life she had. She was just trying to survive in a world where every option was bad. I actually felt more disappointment in Michael that he continuously betrayed her. Hearing his constant defensive narrative was annoying, like he was wanting us, the readers, to take his side.

I chose this as a book club selection for that reason. There was so much to talk about! I think these are the best kind of books for discussions. It’s interesting to see how different we all handle moral dilemmas. I think, for this book anyway, you really have to take into account the time period and the difficulty this generation had dealing with the war. The effects were still very fresh and most of them had family who were involved in the good parts and the bad. They didn’t know if they should be thankful they weren’t born a little bit earlier, or ashamed that they weren’t there.

From the very beginning, I could see that Michael was a weak person. He was ashamed of the class difference between he and Hanna and kept her a secret from friends. He doesn’t speak up when he knows Hanna couldn’t have committed the crimes for which she was on trial. When he learned that Hanna would be imprisoned for life, he never went to visit or wrote one letter. Talk about a punch to the gut.

I do feel this is an important book. I don’t know any other books that captures the struggles this generation must have had. Some say this may be based on the author’s true life story, but he denies it. Even if it’s a work of fiction, I am humbled by his ability to write such a simple, meaningful story in such a way that no one can believe it isn’t true!

If you’re more of a movie person, this book was adapted for the screen in 2008, and was nominated for 5 Academy Awards. I personally haven’t watched it but I’m sure I will. I always enjoy critiquing movies that were books first, if only to point out all the ways the book was better.

Goodreads rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My 2017 Top Book Pick – The Dry

I hit a major milestone in 2017! I read a whopping 85 books, the most I’ve ever read in a year. I attribute this to the reading lists I prepared in advance each month using my Goodreads TBR list. I was surprised to discover many great new authors, as well as some great seasoned authors I just never got around to reading. This year I set a goal to read more non-fiction and memoirs, and it paid off, as there was one I consider one of my top all time reading experiences. (When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi)  Finally, although I consider myself a die-hard mystery fan, I found out that you can actually read too many psychological suspense books, which means this is the first time my top reads aren’t all thrillers. I’ve been pretty consistent with tracking what I’ve read on Goodreads so I decided to change my annual wrap-up from posting all of my 5 star reads to just writing one review of my favorite read of 2017.

My pick for best of 2017 is from debut author, Jane Harper. The Dry doesn’t seem like it should be anything spectacular. In fact, mysteries set in the Australian bushlands is starting to become sort of trendy, what with the ominous feel of the atmosphere and dangerous terrain. It is that, but what makes this book so great is the writing. Jane Harper made a career as a journalist (13 years, in fact) so she knows a thing or two about drawing the reader in. I couldn’t stop once I’d started, and had to immediately talk to my husband about it when I’d finished. I liked it so much I bought the audio version so we could listen to it during a long car trip in the summer. (It was just as good on audio, by the way!)

This story is set in the fictional town of Kiewarra. People are struggling to get by and farms are ruined during one of the worst droughts of the century. I could feel the tension among the characters in this story as Falk interacts with them. I wish I was as good with words as Harper, so I could articulate the energy you feel as you read this story. The characters are unique, the setting tense, and the plot keeps you engaged. This book really is a triple threat.

Federal Agent Aaron Falk narrates as he arrives to attend his best friend’s funeral. He hasn’t been to his hometown in twenty years, since he and his family were ran out of town over another mysterious death. When he arrives, many of the locals do not welcome him. Agent Falk isn’t planning on staying to investigate, but once he arrives for the funeral, the victim’s family convinces him to stay and find out the truth. It doesn’t take long for him to learn that what local authorities call a “suicide” could be murder. As Falk interacts with old friends, neighbors, and a local detective, the story builds into a perfect mystery!

An interesting tidbit you won’t likely find in other police procedural mysteries is the starring agent is in the Forensic Accounting unit. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this specialty being used in fiction before. While he doesn’t use his specialty in the beginning of the story, surprisingly, he is able to draw on some of his experience in that area to help solve the murder. I thought it was a unique association to add in what could have been a predictable plot.

I suppose it isn’t much of a surprise that my top pick of the year is a suspense/thriller. I always enjoy reading a good mystery, but this is on a different level. It will appeal to both serious readers and those looking for a good beach read. I think it’s universally appealling and is a guaranteed winner for all readers.

 

2017 Reflections

My 2017 Resolution was two-fold. I wanted to be more intentional about how I spend my time, and I wanted to start a blog. These may not sound challenging to you but I have a tendency to close myself off to outside interactions as if I’m ashamed of my true self. So, I’m happy to report that I did accomplish both of the goals I set out to meet a year ago.

When I say I want to be more intentional about how I spend my time, I mean I want to make a point to get out of my pajamas and actually go out and spend time with friends. I’ve found that just saying “I want to get out more” doesn’t work for me. I have to officially schedule time or I’ll never go through with it. So, my first action was to come up with something I could schedule and something I’d WANT to do. What about a book club?? Bingo! By forcing myself to get together with a group of readers monthly, I intentionally planned 12 more interactions than I had before (and I can never say no to talking books!)

The funny thing is, once I started telling people about the book club, I got such an overwhelming response that I wished I had done it sooner. People from outside my area were even interested. That sparked an idea. Why not create a reading blog? It’s only natural that I create a space to post book reviews on what I’ve been reading, and it makes the blog resolution less daunting. I’ll admit I tried to start a blog a few years ago and I quit after 2 posts. I am embarrassed by my lack of creativity; I write too technical. However, I wanted 2017 to be the year I pushed myself. We can’t let our fears dictate our lives. So, there you have it. That’s how the blog was born.

As I look back over my posts from the last year, I am pleasantly surprised. My writing isn’t as terrible as I feared it would be. In fact, I wish I’d written more. I did well over the first half of the year but slipped into old habits after August. It wasn’t because I was too busy; I seem to lose motivation in the fall. I read just as much (or more) but lost my momentum with writing. Writing, for me, takes effort. It’s not something I can just sit down and let the words flow. I convince myself that I have to do intense prep work before I can even write a short review. (Even this post gave me angst!) But, I hope to continue to work on my writing. I realize that the more I do it, the better I’ll become.

Something else I was able to work on in 2017 is not just reading, but reading well. I made a conscious effort to educate myself on choosing books, recommending books, and reviewing books in order to have better discussions with my reading group. I am a researcher by nature so I did what I do best: I started digging. I read blogs, sought out the experts on twitter, started listening to bookish podcasts day and night, and got to know the publishers on social media. I stumbled upon NetGalley, this awesome forum for book reviewers to read advanced copies of books in exchange for reviews (free publicity.) My “research” was more than gathering information, it was hands-on training. Little did I know, I was gaining invaluable experience and knowledge that would help improve my ability to express myself and share my reaction to a book.

I’m not saying I am an expert, but I am a little better than I was before. I plan to continue these things and expand on them even more in 2018. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve reached my peak; there’s always something to improve upon.

2018 Book Club Reading List

After much thought and consideration, here are the books the Get Lit (erary) Book Club will read and discuss in 2018.

Month Title Author
January The Reader Bernhard Schlink
February The Alice Network Kate Quinn
March Necessary Lies Diane Chamberlin
April Crossing to Safety Wallace Stegner
May We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
June The One-in-a-Million Boy Monica Wood
July A Visit From the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan
August This is How it Always Is Laurie Frankel
September The Kitchen House Kathleen Grissom
October Faithful Alice Hoffman
November Peace Like A River Leif Enger
December Our Souls At Night Kent Haruf

Bel Canto

If you’ve never read Ann Patchett, there are a couple things you need to know before experiencing her writing. She writes books that make you think. Her books offer insights on human behavior in all types of hard situations. I’m not usually a big fan of prose but I don’t mind Patchett’s simple, yet descriptive prose that easily brings you into the story. You’ll be engrossed by the story whether you intend to or not. Bel Canto is Patchett’s most known novel, and also most award-winning.

Bel Canto (Italian for “beautiful song”) tells the story of a hostage situation in South America that went on for 4 months. It takes place at a birthday party being held in honor of a powerful businessman at the home of the country’s vice president. The evening’s entertainment, an opera singer, drew guests from around the world. In the middle of the party, a group of terrorists take the whole group hostage in exchange for the country’s president. People from different continents, many who could not communicate in the native language, were suddenly forced together in a panicked, life-threatening situation. What happens next is extraordinary.

The businessman, Mr. Hosokawa, is there with his interpreter, Gen. This master interpreter becomes one of the main characters since he is the only one who can communicate in all the languages of those present. He translates for the terrorists, the hostages, the authorities, and the aide who comes from the outside every day to supply medical assistance. Gen is the one who really brought these people who never would have intermingled together and kept tensions low.

The opera singer is the only woman allowed to stay; all other women are let go. The people find common ground through her music. It is so fascinating to watch this group interact and bond during a crisis. Hostages and terrorists become friends over the course of the 4 month period and learned things about themselves they never dreamed possible. It is through this situation that romance is kindled and relationships formed. I couldn’t believe a story with such brutal topics could be so beautiful.

Our book club read this during the November-December months when everyone is always busy. It wasn’t the best time to try to read a book like this. I think it’s best to allow yourself to get immersed in the story to truly experience the emotions you’ll feel. Believe it or not, it is inspiring. The challenges these characters overcome is unbelievable; it makes me feel hopeful for the current state of our world. There is good in all of us. We have to forge connections and bonds with those whom we normally wouldn’t mix.

I would recommend this book to music lovers. You’ll be swept away by the power music has over this group.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars out of 5