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review 2018-07-17 09:02
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks

This engrossing read traces the fictionalized history of a real-life ancient Jewish manuscript found in Sarajevo, Bosnia and the people – Jews, Muslims and Christians – who shaped its destiny, from the 15th century up to the present day. The details about the restoration and conservation of old books are quite fascinating. Richly steeped in history and meticulously researched, the story jumps back and forth between chapters set in different countries and eras with different characters. Some of these characters are sympathetic and likeable, some others not so much (one example of the latter is Hanna, the main character in the present era, who comes across as annoyingly judgmental to me). When reading novels structured like this I would sometimes be more drawn to certain story lines more than the others, but Brooks spins her tale so well that after a few pages of each new chapter I always found myself captivated, no matter how I may feel about the characters. I've had a secondhand copy of this book in my stacks for years but only got to it this year, when it's starting to look like it's well on its way to becoming an ancient manuscript itself. I'm very glad I gave it a chance.

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review 2018-04-26 12:31
Review of Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Caleb's Crossing - Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to blend history, descriptive language, and develop characters are second to none in my opinion for current authors. All readers find authors that write in a way that is beautiful and connects on a personal and intellectual level and Brooks is one of the authors for me.


This is my third novel by Brooks and while I loved everything I said above, this story was not as strong as the previous two I read. The history and beauty and characters were all done exceptionally well, but the story itself was more of a chronology of events and I never felt that it built toward a climax. We find out what happens with all of the important characters and I have no problems with how the story played out, but if she didn't write so well, I might not have been as interested as I have been with her previous books. Either way, I still recommend it for those who love to read beautiful language.

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review 2017-07-07 21:30
Review of March by Geraldine Brooks
March - Geraldine Brooks

My second novel by Brooks and I am still in love with her writing.  There isn't much to say that has not already been said about this book, but I loved the reality brought to life in this story.  Outside of the clever way that Brooks told the story of the March family from Little Women, this story shows the harsh reality of slavery in the Civil War.  She does an outstanding job of showing the reader the ideas and flaws of abolitionism in the North as well.  Historical fiction at its finest!

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review 2017-05-11 16:01
The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
The Secret Chord: A Novel - Geraldine Brooks

I greatly admire Brooks' works and the voice she gives to historical characters, so I looked forward to seeing what she would do with the Biblical King David. Considering the drama of David's life, this novel was surprisingly uninteresting. 


Told from the point-of-view of the prophet Nathan, David's life is full of contradictions that are not fully explained. He seems much more an irreverent philanderer than the "man after God's own heart." Of course, David had his issues, but he doesn't seem to have any positive attributes in this portrayal of him, leading the reader to wonder why God would have chosen him at all.


It doesn't seem to be a question that Nathan ever considers, though he does take it upon himself to ensure that David's son, Solomon, becomes a better man than his father. I enjoyed the part of the book with Nathan mentoring the young future king.


This novel closely follows the Biblical account of David with many additional graphic sexual encounters that I could have done without. Some Christians will undoubtedly be offended by the author's decisions regarding some of David's relationships, but I was not particularly surprised by any of it. Even with the scandalous attempts to add to David's known story, I found this book a bit bland. Definitely disappointing coming from an author of such great skill.

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review 2017-05-09 18:48
Powerful historical fiction
March - Geraldine Brooks

Historical fiction with a powerful grounding in both the fictive world of Louisa May Alcott ("Little Women") as well as the real history of the American Civil War. A pitiable and complicated main character (March) leaves his family to fight in the war as a committed abolitionist. As the father of Jo and Beth and Amy from Little Women, we get to hear his side of what was happening in this critical period in U.S. history.

I found the premise more intriguing than the execution, but I liked the way in which his life and decisions had complicated outcomes, not predictable ones that were clearly heroic. The story reflects the complications and horror of the Civil War itself, and capably demonstrates the terrible life of slavery and its affects on human beings in that period.

Source: nednote.com
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