Thursday, July 2, 2015

REVIEW: The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones

The Woman Who Heard Color
by Kelly Jones

Publisher: Berkley
Page Count: 400
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Format: Trade Paperback

How got: personal library

First attention getter: the pretty cover and title

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

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.

My Thoughts:

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.

6 comments:

  1. The premise of this books sure does sound interesting. Its too bad the dual time periods weren't written differently. You've sparked my curiosity though, so I'm going to add it to my TBR list.
    Nice review. :)

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    1. Thanks! I know, I was bummed that they weren't handled as equally well. At least Hanna's story was engrossing enough to carry the novel. :)

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  3. This sounds and looks wonderful! What a great review. I'm a little worried about the dual story line aspect, though. I hate when it's not handled well. I love how Paula Brackston handles it in her novels. Thanks for introducing me to this book! I love finding out about great books that have already been out for a while. I'm sometimes so distracted by the shiny new HF books, that I forget about all the great ones that have been out for a while that I missed. :-)

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    1. LOL! I know what you mean. I build a most anticipated shelf on GoodReads for each year and sometimes get lost in those titles, too. It's good to visit older ones, especially from before I got back into reading more heavily.

      Yeah, the dual storyline can make or break a book for me, too. At least the one I liked in this one, the historical aspect was done VERY well. Kinda made up for it. :)

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