Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko
From the bestselling author of The Girl From the Train, comes another compelling coming of age story of delayed love, loss, and reconciliation in WWII-era South Africa.
Lettie has always felt different from and overshadowed by the women around her– this friend is richer, that friend is more beautiful, those friends are closer. Still, she doesn’t let this hold her back. She works hard to apply her mind, trying to compensate for her perceived lack of beauty with diligent academic work and a successful career as a doctor. She learns to treasure her friendships, but she still wonders if any man will ever return her interest.
Marco’s experience in the second world war have robbed him of love and health. When winters in his native Italy prove dangerous to his health even after the war has ended, he moves to South Africa to be with his brother, husband to one of Lettie’s best friends.
In the company of beloved characters from The Child of the River, Marco and Lettie find with joy comes pain and loss, but Lettie learns that life—while perhaps a crooked path—is always a journey worth taking.
This author’s books are different that most things you will read on the American market, I would say. The language style is very different to begin with, but it is intriguing and pulls you into the story immediately. I opened this book and didn’t want to put it down. I ended up staying up late reading, which is something that has not happened for awhile as I am generally too exhausted to push through.
While this book breaks a lot of the rules when it comes to writing, it has a quality about it that makes you enjoy it. The history, the culture of South Africa, Italy and the characters from the previous book make this story one you will be thinking about after you put it down. Romantic? No, not really. While there is more real life romance spoken of throughout the story, the pain that comes with real life romance is also present. Don’t read this book for romance. The journey of discovery of the meaning of life and love is more incredible as well as the history of the polio vaccine as well.
I obtained this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed herein are my own.
This book is available for purchase from your local bookseller and Amazon.
If you do buy a copy, I recommend buying the previous book to read first. The characters from the first book are mentioned as the timelines coincide.