I just finished the historical fiction, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City. The story takes place during the rise of Hitler in 1933, and told through the naive eyes of American Ambassador William Dodd and his beautiful party-loving daughter, Martha. The family settles in a house across from Tiergarten park(Garden of Animals) in which the book's title is derived.
Even as the violence escalates and Hitler launches the Night of the Long Knifes, people are going about their lives as usual attending operas, parties and picnics. Martha is infatuated with Germany and the Nazis. She has many affairs and even becomes a spy for the Soviet Union when she falls in love with Russian diplomat, Boris Vinogradov.
Eventually, Dodd begins to realize the disaster unfolding and tries to warn the U.S. politicians who turn a blind eye to the hostilities. I enjoyed the book, although I was frustrated with the lack of cohesiveness in the writing. I can't quite put my finger on it. It was full of detail and empty at the same time. It seemed artificial and tedious yet exciting. I am glad I read it but I liked The Devil in the White City better.
I am always amazed by how many people love books, share books and love to write about them. Pamela HIll is a high school librarian in Texas started posting book reviews back in 2005 while teaching 8th grade English. She started her blog as a means to provide recommendations to her students and a way to keep record of the books she read. Her focus is young adult literature. Check out Mrs. Hill's Book Blog to read her review of The Light Between Oceans.
Book Coaster writes "Enthralling! Intense! Powerful! Stedman has produced pure gold in The Light Between Oceans."
book coasters is a space for customers and library staff to share reviews, links, tips, tricks, how-to guides and information. It’s an online book club in the form of a blog, where we can all share our thoughts on books we love (and books we don’t!). Library staff will frequently post interesting articles, but like any book club, it’s all about discussion. We’d love to hear from you! (from their website)
The Los Altos Town Crier describes The LIght Between Oceans as a book "full of moral questions, with characters navigating life, making decisions and then living poorly or well with the consequences. With books such as this, most readers will inevitably ask themselves, “What would I have done in this situation?”
The Madison City Library writes in its review of The Light Between Oceans, "This is a beautifully written first novel that is hard to put down since it pulls the reader in immediately. Stedman describes the lighthouse functions in great detail and allows us to see what that life might have been like. As well as a mystery and love story, it is also a story of choices and their implications."
Book are Life-Vita Libre describes "M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss."
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.