An educational and enlightening, if sometimes excessively detailed, story of recent Iranian history.

ROXANA'S REVOLUTION

An ambitious novel of an Iranian woman’s personal and professional struggles during a time of war and social unrest.

Powell (Two Weddings, 2011) tells the story of Roxana Ramsey, a young, highly educated Iranian woman living in New York during the start of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Although she considered herself a New Yorker, Roxana, like many other Iranian nationals visiting the United States on student visas, received a letter of deportation. She decided not to fight the order and returned to Tehran, via Paris, with her two best friends. But when the forward-thinking Roxana reached Iran, she was shocked by the transformation taking place there. With the country on the verge of returning to strict governmental rule, including the oppression of women, Roxana fought to hold onto her beliefs and her allegiance to two very different countries. Despite a slightly confusing beginning, the storyline quickly gains its footing and unfurls a captivating plot with a well-developed protagonist. Roxana’s personal, political and professional struggles are well-rendered throughout, although occasional scenes and snatches of dialogue would benefit from a bit more polish. The author attempts to pack in as much information as possible about historical events and cultural traditions, which makes the novel feel like a somewhat overwritten history lesson at times. That said, Powell does a good job of capturing the intense emotions of a very dramatic time and effectively uses the point of view of a highly intelligent woman who considered both countries her home.

An educational and enlightening, if sometimes excessively detailed, story of recent Iranian history.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4759-8063-9

Page Count: 530

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2013

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Hitler may not live, but Heil Hitler is alive and all too well.

THE KAISER'S WEB

The rise of a neo-fascist with deep roots in the Third Reich pulls not-exactly-retired Justice Department agent Cotton Malone back for a 16th round of international intrigue.

A specter is haunting Europe. No, not the coronavirus but Theodor Pohl, an insurgent German nationalist who’s set his sights first on toppling long-serving chancellor Marie Eisenhuth, then on making the Fatherland great again—really, really great. Barely have Malone and his lover and comrade in arms Cassiopeia Vitt dusted themselves off from their leap from their mortally wounded plane in Poland on a single parachute than ex-President Danny Daniels is packing them off to Chile to investigate rumors that Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, and Martin Bormann didn’t all die in that bunker in 1945; at least one of them escaped to South America with billions in Nazi gold. The trip to Chile produces some eye-popping revelations and whittles down the cast, but instead of settling matters for good, it propels Malone and Vitt to South Africa for further investigations among people determined to be left alone until their time has come. Meanwhile, back in Germany, the chancellor realizes that she’s being undermined by not only Pohl and his ruthless acolyte, Josef Engle, but her xenophobic husband, Kurt Eisenhuth, whose past is even more checkered than she knows. Cannily mixing historical research with florid inventions that fill in gaps and sometimes fly in the face of the available evidence, Berry presents an ominously up-to-date world whose frenzied nationalism is a direct descendant of the Thousand-Year Reich.

Hitler may not live, but Heil Hitler is alive and all too well.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2501-4034-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Minotaur

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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