The Woman Who Heard Color
by Kelly Jones
Page Count: 400
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Format: Trade Paperback
How got: personal library
First attention getter: the pretty cover and title
Lauren O'Farrell is an "art detective" who made it her mission to retrieve invaluable works stolen by the Nazis during the darkest days of World War II. Her quest leads her to the Manhattan apartment of elderly Isabella Fletcher, a woman who lives in the shadow of a terrible history-years ago her mother was rumored to have collaborated with the Nazis.
But as Isabella reveals the events of her mother's life, Lauren finds herself immersed in an amazing story of courage and secrecy as she discovers the extraordinary truth about a priceless piece of art that may have survived the war and the enduring relationship between a mother and a daughter.
Star Rating - 3.5
This author creates a rich and vibrant story of a woman growing up in an ever changing Germany and Europe during the early 20th century, fighting through tyranny and tragedy to create a better life for her children and to rescue the great artworks of Germany from destruction. I enjoyed the atmosphere the author created, an ever darkening aura over the art world as the story marches towards bonfires of color annihilation. She breathed life into this affluent world of wealth and art as well as its eventual decline under the Nazis.
I liked how the author just drew me into Hanna’s story; she makes her very personable from page one of her story. I loved her vulnerability, intelligence, and fire early in the story as she builds a new life and finds love. The evil on the horizon slowly slides into her life. Eventually, she is forced to live in quiet shadows, showing her resistance and fire in only small ways and living in constant fear of her life.
I do wish the dual storyline would have been handled differently, though. The modern chapters felt very out of place and jarring within the narrative. They had a different pace and focus that I didn’t like. They slowed the flow of Hanna’s story and didn’t really add that much. They were boring, and I frankly didn’t like Lauren or Isabella. All the material presented in these chapters was covered elsewhere or could have been better incorporated as opening or closing chapters.
A beautiful story of resistance and love, Hanna’s story kept me entertained and emotionally invested long after reading. I loved the atmosphere the author was able to achieve in the dark Nazi state and the earlier bright, art-filled world of early 20th century Germany. Yet, her interspersing modern chapters throughout the book jarred the reading experience and slowed the story flow dramatically. An enjoyable look at a personal opposition against Nazism but with some issues, this book should still entertain, if only for Hanna’s beautiful story.