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Month in review

Reviews:
Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood
The Best Friend I Ever Had by David Nuffer
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon by Frederik Pohl
Black Rainbow by Barbara Michaels
The Bomb That Followed Me Home by Cevin Soling
Catalog by Eugene Mirabelli
The Chemist by Janson Mancheski
Culture Shock! California by Mark Cramer
The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Heechee Rendezvous by Frederik Pohl
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
Keeping Hannah Waiting by Dave Clarke
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Love in 90 Days by Diana Kirschner
The Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady
Of Dreams and Reality by Frank L. Johnson
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Purplicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
School Days by B. G. Hennessy
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
Sister Margaret by Rhonda Parrish
A Surprise for Rosie by Julia Rawlinson
Texas Bake Sale by Charles Coleman Finlay
There's a Wolf at the Door by Zoë B. Alley
Tiger Burning Bright by Theodora DuBois
Venice by Adrian Stokes and John Piper
Winding Broomcorn by Mario Milosevic
The Whole Shebang by Timothy Ferris

Ulysses:
Episode 2: Nestor: Kif
Episode 3: Proteus: Georgia Nicholson
Episode 4: Calypso: Parasites Lost
Episode 5: The Lotus Eaters: Down to the River to Pray

Miscellaneous:
Historical Fiction

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Keeping Hannah Waiting

Keeping Hannah WaitingKeeping Hannah Waiting: 03/16/09

Writing a review of a historical fiction that covers a recent and painful piece of world history is a daunting task. Add to the mixture, a book that offers to teach about the continued wrongs being propagated against the original victims and their families while being a source of charity income for an organization that is striving to undo some of those wrongs and it leaves me not sure how to proceed.

Keeping Hannah Waiting by Dave Clarke is just such a book. At its most basic form, it is a historical and contemporary fiction about a fictional Marc Chagall painting (Girl with Flowers) found under extraordinary circumstances with an even more extraordinary history. It is also a teaching device about events leading up to the German concentration camps and the on going repercussions. Finally all the sales of the book go to benefit the Survivor Mitzvah Project.

For the purpose of this review, I am only going to focus on the fictional aspects of the book and way in which the story is told. Keeping Hannah Waiting has three distinct parts: Kate McBride's story of her mother's death and the discovery of the painting, the story of Lilly called Hannah, and finally Kate's attempt to do some good with her ill gotten gains.

The novel excels at building a convincing timeline for both Kate's story and Lilly's story, though it does take advantage at dramatic coincidence to keep things tight. I especially loved Kate's part of the book as she goes through the emotional roller coaster of losing her mother, having to settle her mother's estate, finding the painting, thinking all her financial problems were over and then realizing the human cost of her gain. How Kate manages to track down Hannah and learn her story was also fascinating and reminded me favorably of The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

Just as all the pieces of Kate's quest are coming together, the novel steps away from her for a hundred page flash back that features the story of Marc Chagall and the real Hannah. By itself this section is just as well written as the modern day parts that book-end it. Coming though when it does, it's jarring and to some degree it soured my appreciation of the novel. The two timelines would have been better presented in a parallel structure.

Despite my quibbles about the placement of the historical section of the novel within the contemporary part, I still think it's a book worth reading.

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Comment #1: Saturday, March, 21, 2009 at 18:09:20

claire

This sounds interesting.. I really loved The History of Love, too.



Comment #2: Saturday March 21, 2009 at 18:07:02

Pussreboots

Keeping Hannah Waiting is worth reading although it's not as tightly written as The History of Love.



Comment #3: Friday, May, 15, 2009 at 22:12:17

Anna

Thanks for linking to my review! I really enjoyed this one. I see your point about the various storylines, but the way Clarke structured it didn't bother me at all. I added your link to my review. Would it be okay to link to it on War Through the Generations as well?



Comment #4: Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 18:09:11

You're welcome. Of course you can link to it from the War Through Generations site. Happy reading.