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A Bend in the Stars
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August 2020: Other Books > (POLL BALLOT) A Bend in the Stars / Rachel Barenbaum - 3***

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message 1: by Book Concierge (last edited Aug 31, 2020 05:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6166 comments A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum
A Bend In the Stars – Rachel Barenbaum
Digital audiobook performed by Thérèse Plummer and Eduardo Bellarini
3***

From the book jacket: In Russia in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms the czar’s army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned, they’ve been raised by their babushka, who taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, kill if necessary, and always have an escape plan. Now, with Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia’s only female surgeons, and Vanya close to solving the puzzle of Einstein’s elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

My reactions:
This was an ambitious debut, and Barenbaum did a reasonably good job of painting the picture of a country divided by political upheaval and on the brink of war. But I think she bit off more than she could chew. There are so many subplots here … a romance or two, an escape from danger (or three), Vanya’s efforts to test his theory based on the solar eclipse, Miri’s efforts to be recognized as the surgeon she wants to be. They are chased from one end of Russia to another, riding trains and carts and living by their wits (and occasional muscle). They hide in filthy holes, and in “plain sight.” They are separated, reunited and separated again. I ached for some peace for them and for me as a reader.

The audio version is expertly performed by two very talented voice artists: Thérèse Plummer and Eduardo Bellarini. They really brought these characters to life and made me feel I was involved in the intrigue.




LINK to my review


message 2: by NancyJ (new) - added it

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 5770 comments Great review. I've had my eye on this one for a while (I love the cover), and I'm intrigued by the story. I haven't read enough historical fiction this year. I also like stories about female physicians in historical fiction. I appreciate your comments about it being overly ambitious. It sounds exciting, but I get tired when the characters of a book are always running from one place to the next.

Do you know if the part about the Theory of Relativity is based on a true story, or is it completely fiction?


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 9057 comments This is out from the library and in the car! I can’t wait to read it!


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6166 comments NancyJ wrote: "Do you know if the part about the Theory of Relativity is based on a true story, or is it completely fiction?..."

I don't. Certainly the eclipse DID happen.


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