I'd like to give Imperium a 4.5 rating (I am stingy with my 5s.) My knowledge of Ancient History is so poor, so I REALLY enjoyed this book! The author...moreI'd like to give Imperium a 4.5 rating (I am stingy with my 5s.) My knowledge of Ancient History is so poor, so I REALLY enjoyed this book! The author uses Cicero's scribe as the first person narrator, and he made these people come alive for me. He also is quite witty; finding this sense of humor in historical fiction of Ancient Rome is somewhat rare. It is obvious that he wants us to apply some of his statements to modern day politicians, which had me chuckling (and grimacing) a few times. This story often sent me to the Internet, which led me to many other links, and helps me justify my many hours in my recliner! I hope to continue finding more books to read of this era. I am also creating a list of Harris books to read. I hope he is as entertaining and informative in some of his other novels. The downside of this experience is the reminder that we sure don't learn from our mistakes - corruption, lies, wars, etc. I could be reading the same in the daily papers! Let's hope we can achieve some real "Change" as promised. (less)
Here I go again with my ambiguous ratings - this book gets a 5 for the first half; 3 for the last half. I was so excited to finally get a page-turner...moreHere I go again with my ambiguous ratings - this book gets a 5 for the first half; 3 for the last half. I was so excited to finally get a page-turner after having read three mediocre books. I loved the beginning of the story using the combination of fiction and nonfiction in dealing with the Columbine tragedy, with the focus on the aftermath of the surviving witnesses and their acquaintances. The writing flowed nicely for me. However, about halfway through, the author goes off on several tangents, each of which could have been a story in itself. Some were more interesting and relevant than others. He also seemed to wrap it up rather quickly in the end. In spite of its flaws, I did still enjoy this book. I was reminded that Post Traumatic Stress can affect many people, under numerous circumstances, in a variety of ways, and sadly, often goes unnoticed. I have heard that Wally Lamb's "I Know This Much Is True" is a better story, and I am eager to try it. (less)
I think my bias toward learning more about FLW led me to give this book 4 stars rather than 3, but as a first novel, I think Nancy Horan has the pote...more I think my bias toward learning more about FLW led me to give this book 4 stars rather than 3, but as a first novel, I think Nancy Horan has the potential to make me want me to look for more books by her in the future. I grew up with a brother who was an architect, and Frank Lloyd Wright was a familiar, and admired, name in our household. He was admired for his work - not for his personal life - so I knew of his many women and egotistical attitude. However, I was not aware of the factual ending to this novel. That was a shocker. (Had this not been based on fact, I would have been angry at the author's ending. As it was, I was angry about the truth!) I was also acquainted with many of FLW's buildings, and especially Taliesen in Wisconsin. A new experience for me, though, was reading about Midway Gardens, and thanks to Google, learning more about it and viewing photos of it. How sad to read of its demise! I was not expecting the book to focus so much on feminism, motherhood, morality, and tough choices. I feel that those topics make this a great book for a discussion group. (less)
Although not the most well-written book I have ever read, after learning that the author wrote it in 24 days (while ill), I have to ignore that aspec...more Although not the most well-written book I have ever read, after learning that the author wrote it in 24 days (while ill), I have to ignore that aspect and give it four stars for the content and thought-provoking ideas with which it left me!
I felt that some of the dialog was too simplistic; it read as a poorly written soap opera at times, but could this be due to translation? I also question the realism of the courtroom scenes. I wish I knew! I lost interest in the whining Enno character towards the middle of the book, but shortly after, I couldn't read fast enough!
I found the last few chapters the most chilling and meaningful. As I read, I often wondered, "Had I been in this situation, could I have made the same choices they did?"
Most novels I've read about WWII have been about characters involved quite directly with the atrocities, whereas this book gave me a new picture of life for all levels of German people during this period. To think that two individuals would spend so much effort on trying to get the attention of the common people, while exposing themselves to so much danger, was inspiring.
I gave the first half of this book a 5-star rating; I was really intrigued and saddened by the horrible experiences Sarah faced. Unlike some reviewers...moreI gave the first half of this book a 5-star rating; I was really intrigued and saddened by the horrible experiences Sarah faced. Unlike some reviewers, I "felt" myself in her (worn-out)shoes and soiled clothing - pretty awful!
The last half of the book, more about the journalist's life, I gave a 3-star rating; it did not seem very true-to-life to me. Too many things just fell into place too easily. She dwelled over decisions that were pretty obvious to make or predict, and her relationships with men were not very realistic.
I, too, was unaware of the French involvement of the Holocaust, so I truly feel this is a worthwhile book to read. (less)
Being a fan of historical fiction, I was pleased to receive this book as part of the Goodreads giveaway program. Since most books I have read about WW...moreBeing a fan of historical fiction, I was pleased to receive this book as part of the Goodreads giveaway program. Since most books I have read about WWII have been centered in Germany or England, I had looked forward to learning more about the lesser known Soviet invasion of Belarus in this period of 1939-40. While I enjoyed the plot and writing style very much, I was slightly disappointed that it did not include as many details of the politcal point of view as I had hoped. (This is what made me choose a rating of 3 instead of 4.) It does, however, give the reader a good look at the feelings of the people of that era and location - both happy and sad, which I did appreciate.
I especially enjoyed reading the introduction, explaining the circumstances of the author's daughter translating her father's work 50 years later. How unfortunate that he died before completing his story! (I think his future plans for a series would have satisfied my original criticism.) It was obvious to me at the end of this book that there was more to tell! What happens to all of these complex characters?
I would be interested to see if the daughter has enough information to write a biography of her father, or to continue this saga. I believe either could also make a good story.
Thanks, Goodreads, for introducing me to this book. I think other readers may also like it. (less)
I discovered this title from BookPage, and since I often enjoy historical fiction set during the era of the Civil War, I decided to try it. I was not...moreI discovered this title from BookPage, and since I often enjoy historical fiction set during the era of the Civil War, I decided to try it. I was not disappointed! I enjoyed the author's writing style; I could picture the characters easily, and felt like I was sitting in their parlors with them at times. Mary was a wonderful character - unique, loving, courageous, determined; I was wishing she had been real, but I'd like to think that there were several "Marys" out there. However, I purposely tried to remove myself from reality during the heartbreaking scenes of working on the soldiers under such dreadful conditions. How awful this was! Being reminded of the horror and blood of this war was quite vivid, and made me grateful for the progress that has been made in medical discoveries.
My one criticism of the plot is that there were too many coincidences of Mary "accidentally" crossing paths with the three men who were prominent in her life. This would most likely not happen in reality. I did, though, like all three men and her relationships to them, and granted, it did create an interesting side story.
I enjoyed the themes of women struggling to enter a man's field of work, the difficult personal choices people must make, and the factual details of the Civil War.
As in all war stories, all I could think of is "What a waste of lives!" There HAS to be a better way to solve our conflicts! (less)
The expressive language of this book made me look forward to each time I had the opportunity to read this in a quiet setting. While the topic of the p...moreThe expressive language of this book made me look forward to each time I had the opportunity to read this in a quiet setting. While the topic of the plague is in itself rather gruesome, the author did not hold back on this. Her graphic descriptions of this horrible disease, the details of midwifery, and the emotional state of the victims made this period in history sadly, very realistic. Thankfully, these dark thoughts were occasionally balanced by strong examples of nature, love, and kindness. I found the interactions of the main characters quite interesting. I had not heard of this event in history, and the Afterword was fascinating to me. I wonder what I would have done, but grateful I wasn't there! I do agree with a few reviewers, that the ending was a bit far-fetched. (less)