Top positive review
Slow Start - Magnificent Finish
Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2017
Just put my Kindle down....I hardly know how to start this review. I will never forget this book, nor the strong feelings it engendered inside me. For this reason, it has to be five stars. I hate romances; I never read them, and can barely tolerate a romance tucked inside a thriller or mystery, or time travel science fiction. I must admit, I almost put this down a couple of times during the first 20% or even 30%. In truth, it was so terribly depressing that I argued with myself about whether I should keep reading. Not exactly a description of a five star novel, huh? The problem was that the characters were so well drawn that I almost felt I knew them from another time, another life. I was annoyed that the author just about hit the reader over the head to emphasize the character traits....okay, I get it already! Meredith works herself constantly to keep from feeling anything; Nina runs all over the world to keep from being at home with her own feelings. Any "constant reader" can predict portions of the ending when books start like this. But...but....then I began to realize the depth of the history that I was being taught. The siege of Leningrad....I never thought of it before. Nearly nine hundred days and over one million people dead - more than 700 thousand from starvation - women and children in a world turned upside down. I never realized that this was yet another horror of World War II. I've read the Holocaust stories and thought of the suffering and the losses and bravery of the people of Europe and other countries....but Russia? I'm ashamed to say I knew nothing. This brilliant author had a story to tell and told it in the best context possible - through realistic people whose lives and feelings just about jumped off the pages and into my heart. Thank you, Kristin Hannah, for an amazing read.