There are so many books on WWII out there now, a trending topic that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, so while I am getting little burnt out on it, personally, I wanted to give this one a shot because the story is set in Italy, which interested me, and I'm glad I did.
The inspiration behind this story was the reimagining of the author's mother's life had she not wed at 18 and had 3 children by age 22, had she been able to choose her own path instead of uphold the cultural responsibilities of her sex. The vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells really took me to India and had me dreaming of it for days after finishing.
Nature v nurture, the age old debate. What makes a good mother? If your mother was a no-show in your life, did that mean you were doomed to be a bad mother? Blythe’s mom left her and her dad when she was a little girl, and when her husband, Fox, starts talking babies, Blythe is doubtful about motherhood, but is desperate to keep Fox happy. Motherhood is hard, anyone will tell you that, but is it supposed to be THIS hard? And when tragedy strikes the family and the blame game starts, lines are drawn and sides are taken, for better or worse.
As someone who was raised in the North, I used to believe that I was not racist, particularly because I hail from the northern states, and frown at the outright, in-your-face racism of the South. I mean, the North won the Civil War after all. Clearly we're the good guys, right? I'm ashamed to say that I thought that way for far too long, blind to the systemic racism inherent in everything, even here in the North, and especially that within myself. Thankfully, books like this one were written.
Murder. Power. Corruption. Greed. Infidelity. But what I love is the way that the author is able to portray that nothing is ever black and white, or so easily right and wrong. The best we can do is to be the best we can be in a way that does the most good for the most people.
This was my first book by the sister writing duo publishing under the pen name Liv Constantine. Their earlier book, The Last Mrs. Parrish, received rave reviews and that was enough for me that when my mom asked me if I wanted to borrow this one, I said absolutely! The book opens strongly, with a woman gasping for breath in an inferno, struggling to make it to safety. It pretty much goes downhill from there. Why? Well, several things actually.
It's my belief that good books are diverting and can take you to a place outside of where you are in the real world, but great books are those that make you think, that challenge you to re-evaluate what you know, that change your viewpoint, that teach you something. Few authors are able to deliver on greatness time after time, but Kristin Hannah appears to be one of those authors.
There are so many layers that drive this story all the way to its heart-wrenching conclusion.We see how each character's insecurities cause them to misconstrue the words and actions of those around them and how those insecurities embitter them toward one another as well. Will the characters' individual insecurities and motivations break the family apart, or will they be able to heal together after their loss?
This book brought up soo many emotions...fear, anger, betrayal, frustration, guilt, empathy, and so many more I can't put words to right now. How do all of these emotions resonate with me as a reader? Easy, I'm a woman, and this book tells my story.
I'm not sure any other thriller thoroughly creeped me out the way this one did. I had this perpetual skin-crawling sensation the entire time I was reading this book, and I'm not really sure if it was in a good way or a bad way.