Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes

The Secret of Raven PointOnce upon a time there was a girl who loved to read. She grew up to become a book reviewer in her spare time. One very sad month in her life, every single book she picked up sucked. The woman seriously contemplated giving up reading forever and ever.

And then she picked up The Secret of Raven Point and she was riveted, and she learned things, and she laughed and cried.

Her faith in literature was restored.

That's my story and it's true.

I loved this book. It has so many incredible things going on: a girl growing up and growing comfortable with herself, developing confidence; a woman helping others at a great loss to herself (nobody is coming out of this war unscathed); a doctor trying desperately to help people understand battle fatigue; and most of all, it was about how war changes people, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

I felt as though I were there. I chuckled a few times in the first half of the tale. The heroine meets some awesome people who in a time of bleakness still manage to have a sense of humor (Glenda). I grew with Juliet and felt as though I was with her as she tended all this patients and shared these heart-wrenching stories with us. I sympathized with her as she grew a numb detachment.

There's a soldier facing court-marital for attempted suicide. That's considered desertion. But the story behind the WHY is shocking and sad. So much bad behavior on all sides in a war. There's a romance, or two, sorta, as much as one can have during a turbulent era such as this, when people are desperate for love, affection, a sign that humanity still exists. Does anything come of it? I won't say, but I will say this book doesn't have that cheesy HEA. It's not a romance. It's a story of life, of life during the second world war in Italy, of a nurse, a doctor, of soldiers.

All this time, through all these wartime struggles and losses, Juliet grows from a girl to a woman. Her priorities change. Her shallowness disappears. She matures and the book does this so subtlety you don't notice it at first. The author did a superb job with characterizations. The descriptions were excellent--not too much, not too little. The suspense def kept me on the edge of my seat. What happened to her brother? Is he dead? Is the patient going to die? Wake up? Escape? Is the doctor going to do something?

As I read, I picked up more little facts about WWII I didn't know before, such as how the gov't apparently wanted to sacrifice men instead of tanks due to the cost of the tanks. Lives were cheaper. Shocking little things kept popping up.

The story also gave me a deep moment of reflection or two, points to ponder...

Was there an obligation that came with living? With each adversity you suffered, with each disappointment, did you have to recognize that someone else hadn't even had the chance?

If I was to complain about anything at all, it would be that the book contains nothing of her "five grueling weeks of Basic Training and eight blazing, seasick days aboard of the HMS Mayflower..."

I actually wanted MORE of this story. I have to say it had it all: laughter, tears (I cried at one point, at least), deep thoughts, suspense, love, and history.

I received this from Edelweiss.

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