My rating: 4/5 stars
In 1968 Anna questions everything, from her fear of intimacy to her Jewish heritage. A summer trip to explore Europe is just what she needs. When her friend abandons her early in the trip, Anna decides to continue the trip with strangers. Her journey teaches her more than she ever could have imagined, it is a truly life-changing experience.
I was kindly sent this as an ARC by Michele in exchange for an honest review.
The copy of this novel that I received started with a map. I love seeing a map at the start of the novel, that extra attention to detail really helps to visualise the journey and adventure that Anna goes on as she makes her way through Europe.
The coming of age narrative to this novel adds another layer on top of the physical journey that Anna departs on. Anna’s character development is well thought out as her experiences on her trip shape her. At the start of the novel I struggled to engage and connect with Anna and found her quite a cold character, but as the plot line developed I found myself liking her much more.
The historical content and the knowledge Michele has of the period she is writing in is unparalleled. This novel was rich with historical references. This is a period of history that I don’t know much about so I found it very interesting to learn of the struggles in the countries Anna visits in the 1960s. It really added depth to the novel, to be able to understand what was happening at the time and in the areas that Anna was visiting.
The start of this novel for me personally was a bit slow. This is the only part of the novel that I found fault with. I found it hard to see where the plot was going and coupled with Anna’s cold nature I did struggle to engage fully at the beginning. However, this soon changed as I was immersed into the novel and the Balkans.
The language used in the novel is simple yet beautifully crafted to create powerful imagery. There is such amazing detail within this novel that reflects Michele’s expertise in the area with which she is writing. The journey that Anna takes is full of adventure, love and sorrow and took me on an emotional rollercoaster, joining Anna when she was at her highs and lows.
I would recommend this novel to anyone with a love for travel or historical fiction, and if you like both this novel is made for you! It is a novel filled with stunning descriptions and sprinkles of historical knowledge that really bring the Balkans to life.