Cheryl's Reviews > Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal

Tamar by Mal Peet
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's review
Nov 29, 11

bookshelves: historical, literary
Read in November, 2011

I wanted to give TAMAR five stars, it was that good a read. I thought about it off and on for days after finishing. (And normally I forget a book once it's read, except when I buy it again and realize after a couple of chapters I've read it before!)

TAMAR grabbed me right away, when an old man asks his son to name his coming baby Tamar. The son conmplies and the stage is set for the story to unfold. When Tamar is fifteen, she sets out on a journey up the Tamar River in England, going to places her grandfather marked for her. She hopes to discover his past.

Part of the book is written from her POV on her journey. The other parts come from the POV's of two Dutchmen, code names Tamar and Dart, who were parachuted into Nazy occupied Holland during WWII to aid the resistance. The switch between present and past is effortless, probably because Tamar always uses first person for her accounts.

Peet gives a moving picture to life in Holland under the occupation. An unwed mother serving as a courier. The fearful heroism of people who risk their lives to keep radio signals between England and Holland alive. The food shortages. The soldiers' threat.

We follow Tamar and Dart's mental processes, watch them deteriorate, panic, rise up in heroism. And there's a love story, between Tamar and the namesake Tamar's grandmother.

The one thing that disappointed me was that the plot came apart toward the ending. Present day events came about that depended on events during the war being known to the current cast, that (unless I missed something and I very well could have) we the readers knew, but left us puzzled as to how the others not involved knew them.

If it hadn't been for that, the plot coming apart toward the end, I would surely had given it five stars.

This book's for anyone who likes history, romance, and good writing.
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