Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See Offers Deep, Introspective Value
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"It was enough when Werner was a boy, wasn't it? A world of wildflowers blooming up and carrot peels and Frau Elena's fairy tales. Of the sharp smell of tar, and trains passing, and bees humming in the window boxes. String and spit and wire and a voice on the radio offering a loom on which to spin his dreams."
All the Light We Cannot See is an emotional novel that looks at war, survival, and the interesting ways that fate and choices bring us together. The novel drips with depth and gorgeous imagery.
The story follows Marie-Laure Leblanc, a girl who is blind during WWII, as she struggles with the loss of her father and the dangers of trying to do the right thing. Werner Pfennig, an orphan, is the other major protagonist of the novel. Through a twisting plot line, their stories become clearly connected as they fight for survival and to overcome lives that suddenly don't feel like their own.
Doerr's style is truly poetic. From page one of the novel, it is clear that he isn't just an excellent storyteller but a word master:
"At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country."
Throughout the entire novel, the reader roots for both characters despite their very different circumstances. The novel reminded me that there truly are no winners or losers in war--just people desperate to survive, to protect their dreams, and to hang on to the ones who matter to them while maintaining a sense of dignity and humanity.
The middle of this book was a bit slow-moving for me. I felt that the pace could have been a bit faster. Nonetheless, Doerr's skill at bringing the entire story together underscored the depth and meaning of this work.
This book reminded me of one of my favorites, The Book Thief, because of its focus and style. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book with deep meaning and purpose.
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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Who can I trust, if I can't even trust myself?"
In a Dark, Dark Wood is the second book I've read by Ruth Ware; I read The Woman in Cabin 10 first. It definitely has her signature, psychological thriller kind of feel and reminded me of The Woman in Cabin 10 in reference to mood and feel. Overall, it was an engaging read about secrets, lies, and friendship.
Leonora is a reclusive writer who finds herself on the invite list for a bachelorette party for an old friend. Against her gut reaction, she decides to accompany another friend, Nina, to the weekend held in a glass house in the middle of a desolate wood. As she tries to reconnect with Claire, her best friend of a different time, things start to get very spooky in the wilderness.
This book is told with an interesting chronology, flipping between present and past. I enjoyed the suspense that was truly built throughout the entire novel. It is more of a psychological read with questions of sanity and trusting one's own mind, which I enjoyed. I also found Leonora's character to be very easy to like and relate to.
I did not find the story predictable, which was a great aspect of this book. It kept me wanting to read up until the very end. My only knock on the book is that I didn't find the motives believable in this book at all times--I won't say anything else because I don't want to spoil it.
Overall, if you like a psychological thriller about secrets and lies, this book is for you. Ruth Ware is a master of weaving an engaging tale without giving too much away or being too preposterous in her plot lines. I recommend this book if you enjoy books like Girl on the Train, The Woman in Cabin 10, or any other psychological reads.
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Inked Hearts releases October 21, 2017, with Hot Tree Publishing. This contemporary romance is set in Ocean City, Maryland.
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“Six years, a complex about my freckles, a love for pastrami, and a fear of failure.
That’s what he gave me before slaughtering my heart and my faith in men.”
Suffering from the sting of betrayal, twenty-eight-year-old Avery Johannas quits her job and moves hundreds of miles away to Ocean City, the beach town of her dreams. With the help of her zany roommate, Jodie, Avery finds a new career, home, and freedom. Throughout her self-exploration, she makes only one rule: She won’t give her heart to a man again. She’s living for herself this time.
But then she meets Jesse.
A tattoo shop owner, the green-eyed Jesse Pearce is wild with a touch of mystery. As Jesse and Avery explore Ocean City and their friendship, they’ll have a hard time drawing a line in the sand between their hearts.
When summer nights get a little more heated than either expected, they’ll have to ask themselves: Can they let go of their notions of love, or will their hearts be permanently inked by past pain?