Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review: Shadows Over Paradise by Isabel Wolff

I've been a big fan of Isabel Wolff ever since reading The Trials of Tiffany Trott many years ago. It was categorized as chick lit, but there was something deeper to the book, a stronger message of independence that wasn't quite as evident in a lot of the books that got labeled as chick lit at the time.

I've since read several other of her books and I've enjoyed seeing how her style and subject matter has changed over the years. I know that whatever the story, it will be well written and enjoyable.

I especially liked A Vintage Affair, which was similar to this book in that it had story lines in the past and present that reflected each other.

Shadows Over Paradise is the story of Jenni, a ghost writer who is meeting with Klara and writing her memoirs.  Klara is a Dutchwoman who spent much of World War II in an internment camp in Java under Japanese occupation.  Her experience is harrowing.

As Jenni learns more about Klara though, it becomes clear that Klara isn't the only one with ghosts in her past.  Both women have concealed tragic secrets for much of their lives, experiences that have adversely affected the choices they've made in life.

I liked this book a lot. It's very sad to the point of gut-wrenching at times, but at the same time a really beautiful story about survival and moving on in life. Also, I found it interesting to learn about this aspect of World War II because it isn't something I've read much about.

For a moment, I was very worried about some of Jenni's decisions near the end, but it all worked out in a way that I liked quite a bit when it was over.

Really good book, I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in World War II and stories about women surviving difficult times and making difficult choices.

I received a review copy via NetGalley.

No comments: