Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is a powerfully moving book about the life of Louis Zamperini. The majority of the focus was on his time during World War II when he was shot down, later captured by the Japanese and survived in their camps. Louis was an Olympic runner. He was improving in his sport and looked forward to competing in the next Olympics. But WWII intervened, as it did for many people, and Louis went to war. Certainly his bravery and ability to survive was highlighted, but his descent into the darkness of PTSD after the war was also highlighted. This book is one of the most powerful books, I have ever read.
This book was earth shattering. Due to the factual writing style of the author, information was presented as a straight recall without added emotion. This made the book readable. In reading how badly the American POWs were treated made me sick to my stomach. Intellectually, I do understand how a prisoner of war camp needs to have discipline and strict rules. I absolutely cannot justify the beatings and starvations that occurred so regularly. The powerfulness of the book cannot be underscored sufficiently. This has brought home to me more than anything else why, Tom Brokaw called this generation of men and women the Greatest Generation. Having said that, it is also clear to me that any man and/or woman who goes into battle is a hero, knowing the consequences of their choices could have life long ramifications.
Mercy Snow is a story about power and secrets. There is a flow of life around a river in a small logging town. The river defines the rhythm and their fortunes of the people through the mills. The Androscoggin is such a river and the small town of Titan Falls, NH is such a town. The people of Titan were hardscrabble people. Surviving in the bitter cold and heat, along with the noxious fumes of the plant and its toxic runoffs.
The family who owned the mill ran this world. They held the power over who survived in this small town. Into this world came three siblings, used to making do. Needing a place to be. There was family land and a place to stay. Mercy, Zeke and Hannah Snow struggled to survive the harshness of Titan.
Things might have been quietly the same until the bus accident. From the wreckage of the accident, another body was found and another mystery opened up. Someone caused it and someone would need to pay.
Zeke went on the run to hide as he was going to be accused of causing the accident. Mercy who had found work with Hazel and her sheep struggled to survive and take care of Hannah. Meanwhile, June the wife of the mill owner Cal has her own suspicions and continued to force people to turn away from the Snow family.
To me the book showed so much of what could and did happen in small mill towns. I found all the characters realistic – with both good and bad traits. I worried over Mercy and Hannah. I became disgusted over the capitulation from some of the town’s peoples. I found the book built slowly after the initial accident and might have even dragged a bit in the middle. Much like the river that slowly moved the logs to the mill and left the toxins to leach into the water until the whole river was enmeshed.
The end was a surprise to me, which I liked. There was a little of magical realism in the book, which I didn’t mind surprisingly. The resolution showed the corruptness of power and the fallibility of people and to me - hope.
This is a novel that is going to be published in March. While this is my first time reading a novel by her, this is not her first book. I received this book through Book Browse with the understanding of providing an honest evaluation of the book.
This book touches on difficult issues: loss of a child, organ donation and spousal abuse. There is a poignancy to the grief and a sharpness to the fear. Amy Hatvany delivers characters struggling with their burdens. Their emotions underline the passion of the novel. Even during the hardest times, there is an underlying positiveness to the novel, with your hope moving them forward. Hannah has lost her daughter, Alice. A tragic accident has left her raw with grief as she slowly pushes everything and everyone away. Her daughter's organs are donated to children needing transplants. Meanwhile, in a parallel story line, Olivia is living with her husband of many years and their teenage daughter who desperately needs a liver. Maddie is growing weaker daily, while waiting for a match. The two stories begin their connection when Maddie receives Alice's liver. However, it is as the story line continues that the secrets of Olivia and Maddie's lives are revealed.
This is the first Amy Hatvany novel I have read. I have enjoyed this book and will be adding her name to the writers to watch for. I was able to read the book easily in a day and found myself engaged with the storyline and empathetic with the characters.