Title: Memories of Glass
Author: Melanie Dobson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: Sept 3, 2019
Length: 432 Pages
About the Book:
Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, this stunning novel draws from true accounts to shine a light on a period of Holland’s darkest history and bravest heroes.
1942. As war rips through the heart of Holland, childhood friends Josie van Rees and Eliese Linden partner with a few daring citizens to rescue Eliese’s son and hundreds of other Jewish children who await deportation in a converted theater in Amsterdam. But amid their resistance work, Josie and Eliese’s dangerous secrets could derail their friendship and their entire mission. When the enemy finds these women, only one will escape.
Seventy-five years later, Ava Drake begins to suspect that her great-grandfather William Kingston was not the World War II hero he claimed to be. Her work as director of the prestigious Kingston Family Foundation leads her to Landon West’s Ugandan coffee plantation, and Ava and Landon soon discover a connection between their families. As Landon’s great-grandmother shares the broken pieces of her story, Ava must confront the greatest loss in her own life―and powerful members of the Kingston family who will do anything to keep the truth buried.
Illuminating the story and strength of these women, award-winning author Melanie Dobson transports readers through time and place, from World War II Holland to contemporary Uganda, in this rich and inspiring novel.
There are books you read and books you experience. Memories of Glass is one of those novels that takes the reader so deep into the trenches of the physical and emotional anguish that people experienced during WWII in such a tangible way that you begin to feel as if you are a character in the story yourself. With vivid imagery and gut-wrenching prose, this is a book you won’t be able to put down.
Knowing that this was a book that I really wanted to read I asked if my local book club would be interested in it being our latest read together. Being out of town for half the month, I read it entirely last minute but would have devoured it just as quickly had I read it any earlier. The group met earlier tonight and we had some amazing discussion on it particularly regarding the motives of each of the characters. Despite the level of heartbreak this was a read that gripped the hearts of the entire group.
The only negative feedback I received over this one was that it was difficult to keep the cast of characters straight because of how many there were. One thing in the formatting that took some getting used to was that the historical threads were clearly marked which POV they were from and the date, but the contemporary thread didn’t give anything. In some books nothing marked means it’s a continuation of whichever POV you were just reading so it took a few chapters to figure this one out. I know this added to the confusion for some in the group particularly those who weren’t used to reading time-slips.
Melanie Dobson has proved again that she is a master at WWII fiction. I know that this is another one that is going to stay with me for a very long time. Have your tissues ready but this is another one that I highly recommend. It’s a great choice for a book club because it’s able to spark a lot of deep conversation.
*While we just had the discussion for this one for my local book club, it currently looks like this is going to be the next read for my FB book club (according to the poll going on right now). If you’re interested you can click HERE to be taken to the group page and request to join 🙂