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STAR RATING: 4 Stars
Book Description from Amazon
No pictures, no past, yet his dreams were left on the shelf: A book, a trolley car, a framed quote, and a plaster bust of Galileo, all represented the places his father wanted to see, things he wanted to do, but when Sam’s father died, it left a bitter taste of regret, and a lost opportunity to discover who he used to be. His father refused to discuss his background, and now that he was gone, Sam was left alone without a father and no memories of his past. But when Sam recollects his father’s belongings, he discovers a hidden yearbook, a list of names, and a government document. Sam learns that the book on the shelf was actually about the Manhattan Project, the WWII program to develop the atomic bomb, and the trolley was from Brooklyn, a code name for a spin-off of the Manhattan Project aimed at stopping Germany.
Sam’s interest in his father’s life becomes a surreptitious tale that ignites a passion to know what happened to his father and why his secrets could not be shared. As he embarks on a quest for ‘his story’, one with the promise of closure, he finds himself in a threat of uncovering more than he wants to know when he meets an evasive retiree who offers bizarre clues that just don’t add up. As Sam continues the search, he encounters the dark secrets of the Dream Shelf, the high cost of integrity, and the lessons a father wanted to pass on to his son.
Sam Archer is a Historian who has dedicated his life to studying and unravelling the secrets of the past. He marvels in knowing the story behind the history of long dead strangers but, ironically, his own father’s past remained shrouded in mystery for many years. In this heart-warming novel we travel with Sam as he discovers the history that shaped and moulded the man he called father.
What I liked about the book
This book was beautifully written with vivid descriptions of the character’s emotions and thinking patterns. Sam is a likeable character and I sympathised with his need to know more about his father. There were moments of real doubt as to just who his father really was. Was he a villain responsible for the deaths of many, or simply a man trying to survive the war? During the course of the book Sam’s search for the truth turned from mere curiosity to a desperate need to know. As if the answers to his questions might define who he would be in future.
As each piece of the puzzle fell into place I found myself being sucked into the story, finding it difficult to put the book down without reading just another chapter.
What I didn’t enjoy that much
There was very little that niggled me in this book. One sentence comes to mind. Karen says to Sam
“If we’re in this for the long run, then I suppose we should practise being intimate.”
Who talks like that? That sentence reminded me that this was fictional, and not real people. It dragged me out of the story and into reality which was a pity as I liked getting lost in this tale.
I loved this book and would read it again as I’m sure I would discover more treasures the second time around. Author Jeff Russell has a wonderful way with words and is undoubtedly a gifted writer. I look forward to reading more of his books.
STAR RATING: 4 Stars