Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We've Moved!

I'm well past due in posting this but Kates Reads has moved.  Join us at for more great book reviews.  Everything that is posted here has moved to the new location.  So come take a look!

Kates Reads

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Tragedy Made Known

I was blown away by Chris Bohjalian's "The Sandcastle Girls". Prior to reading this novel I'd never heard of the Armenian genocide that took place in 1915-1916 under the Ottoman Empire.  The story is woven between 1915 Aleppo, Syria and 2012 Bronxville, New York.

In 1915 Elizabeth Endicott travels to Aleppo under the auspices of a Boston group called Friends of Armenia.  They are bringing aid to the Armenians displaced by the war.  There she meets Armen who is an Armenian engineer who has lost his family to the genocide.

The present day portion of the story surrounds Elizabeth's granddaughter, Laura, who only recently discovered that her grandparents had been witness to and part of this horrific event.  She is attempting to write their story.

Bohjalian does a tremendous job bringing this tragedy to light.  The horrors the Armenians endured at the hands of the Turks was made vivid in the retelling.  It was particularly chilling to me how the Germans, allies of the Turks, learned the most efficient ways to transport and dispose of unwanted citizens.

This is a must read for anyone that is interested in history and this time period in particular.  It is a masterful and heartbreaking story.

Politics "Not" as Usual

"Running", by Patrice Fitzgerald is not your run of the mill election story.  Catherine Young is the current Vice President of the United States and has been nominated the Democratic candidate for president in the upcoming election.  Her opposition is Jerusha Hutchins, a beauty-queen type who is married to a very prominent religious figure.

Catherine looks to be a "shoe-in" for the presidency until someone starts blackmailing her about an event in her past.  When she learns that the blackmailer is a member of her own staff the ante is upped and the hunt is on.

This is a thrilling, fast paced novel.  The characters are well-developed and believable.  Fitzgerald does a great job depicting the downward spiral and unraveling of the blackmailer.  Catherine is a strong, independent female character who would certainly get my vote.

I was hesitant when I started the novel as the election cycle had just ended and I was on politics overload.  The story was so compelling though, that I forgot about that in short order.