Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Pursuit of Pearls Book Review

The Pursuit of Pearls by Jane Thynne

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In the spring of 1939, the drums of war beat throughout Europe, but nowhere more ferociously than in Berlin. The film studio where Clara Vine works in churning out movies, but each day that she stays in Germany is more dangerous than the last. Spying on the private life of the Third Reich, passing secrets to contacts in the British Intelligence, falling into a passionate affair - any of these risky moves could get Clara shot. So she is wholly shaken when someone close to her is murdered instead. The victim is Lottie Franke, an aspiring costume designer and student at the prestigious Faith and Beauty finishing school that trains young women to become the wives of the Nazi elite. White the press considers Lottie's death in the Grunewald forest the act of a lone madman, Clara uncovers deeper threads, tangled lines that seem to reach into the darkest depths of the Reich - and to a precious discovery that Hitler and his ruthless cohorts would kill for.

Review by Brittany:

I have gradually become a fan of World War II fiction as I have gotten older, which is why I requested this book on NetGalley.

This book felt to me like it was saturated with details. There were so many characters and so many tiny events that were described so fully that I occasionally felt bogged down in the details and lost the thread of the story. I think that some of these details prevented the plot from moving forward at a steady pace, so that the story invariably felt like it was moving slowly.

That being said, there were certain aspects of the plot that I thoroughly enjoyed. Clara is a fantastic character with a lot of layers to her. I have not read the previous novels in this series, so I jumped in without having background about Clara. This book does a great job of essentially catching up those readers who have not read any of the previous books. The story explains how Clara came to be working for the British Intelligence and why her living in Germany is so risky. Her courage through her fear made her an admirable character to me, particularly in the scene where she is arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo. I can't imagine how scary that might be.

I also liked the character of Hedwig. Here's a girl in the Faith and Beauty school who is supportive of Hitler and is being groomed to be the perfect German wife. She simply does what she's told to do in order to achieve the best life she can have while under Hitler's command. When she inadvertently gets mixed up with those who are against Hitler, it completely throws her world into a tailspin.

I also enjoyed reading about Conrad Adler. He is an officer under Hitler who takes an interest in Clara, which is at times scary to her. There's something about his confidence and complete lack of empathy when it comes to Hitler's reign that makes him a very intriguing character and one that I would like to read more about. He's very much a "follow orders" kind of guy, a trait that Clara can barely stand about him, which makes their interactions interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think the plot could have moved along faster and, as is obvious by my review, it was mostly the characters that drove me to finish reading the book. I do recommend this book for those who already have an interest in fiction revolving around this time period.

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