As I "close" the last page of this book, I'm left with a variety of thoughts roiling in my head...thoughts about how some behavior seems to be inheritAs I "close" the last page of this book, I'm left with a variety of thoughts roiling in my head...thoughts about how some behavior seems to be inherited...how sometimes those who seem evil are really the most miserable of all of us, and perhaps they need our pity more than we realize.
There's no major conflict/plot to this book, no mystery. It's more of a psychological story as we read about a young girl in Finland during the war. Now, this is in a historical setting: the forties and fifties mostly, but it's not about history. Folks who don't care for historical fiction should not be deterred. It's a story that could very well take place now, albeit more difficultly, with the children's services now available to people.
It's a girl whose mother just hates her. For reasons unknown. The girl is subjected to emotional torture and abuse day after day, told she's ugly, good for nothing, locked in closets, neglected, unloved, while her brother receives all the adoring attention. Why does her mother hate her so?? It's never made clear. How does a mother loathe one child but adore the other? I don't know. Jealousy?
The novel goes on to show the girl growing up into a needy young woman. She very slowly starts becoming her mother, drowning herself in a bottle of wine at the slightest hurdle. The man doesn't call when he says he will. Drown in a bottle and cry. (Though in her defense, the man was annoying. One minute he's all "you're too young for me" and then next he can't leave her alone. I mean, he knew how young she was was when he first asked her out. Quit leading the girl on. Jackass.)
But the heroine rises above it. She gets therapy and becomes a counselor herself--counseling those with alcohol addiction. She becomes a loving mother, breaking the cycle.
The heroine has blindness in one eye and a "rolling" eyeball for much of the book. This causes a whole 'nother set of problems. As strange as this will sound, I was fascinated by these parts of the story: by the surgeries, the techniques, the struggles with the disability. I felt this aspect of the book was very well done.
As I said above, the book made me think long and hard about behavior patterns and it made me take a long figurative look at cruel people in my own life. In the past I would look at those people and just think they were evil bastards...but now I sit here and wonder what's made them that way. By the time I read the last page of this book, I actually felt sorry for the evil mother. There was a lot going on there, a lot that made her the way she was. I mean, seriously, in the end, who had the most miserable life? The one who made others' lives hell, or the one who learns to leave it all behind?
I requested this knowing full well it's Amish/religion themed, but the woman pilot during Pearl Harbor was irresistible to me and I wanted to give itI requested this knowing full well it's Amish/religion themed, but the woman pilot during Pearl Harbor was irresistible to me and I wanted to give it a go. I'm glad I did. There was much to like about this novel, though there were some bits that grew tiresome.
--The heroine...for the most part. She isn't without her flaws (who isn't?) but I'll get to those in a bit. A sentence from her father in the beginning sums her up to a T:
"Hooking you up to an Amish farm boy would be like putting a modern engine in old Fokker triplane. Why, the stress on the wing struts would tear the plane apart."
She's spunky, brave, and witty. I was impressed that she managed to be such a tough girl without uttering a single curse word. Well done. Most authors couldn't pull this off. I think her flying around with the Zeroes was my favorite part.
--The hero. This ain't an alpha male, but a nice guy with fears, feelings, and he's poetic too...and patient.
--The banter both between the hero and heroine and the hero and his fellow aviators. Had me laughing out loud many times.
--The flying scenes. Fantastic and on the edge of your seat!
--Watching romance blossom. Rather than fill up pages with sex, the author gave us moments of deep conversation under full moons, playing in the waves, passionate kisses.
--Ruth. Though I didn't care for her how her tale ends...rather cowardly in my opinion, I enjoyed watching her blossom for the brief time she did.