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This book would have been better if it could decide what it wanted to be-- an historical novel, a romance, or a murder mystery. Instead it tried to be all three and suffered for it. As mystery it was too slow and too scattered (and the "twist" at the end was somewhat far-fetched). As a romance it suffered from unlikeable characters (frankly I did not care who ended up with whom other than a bit of eye-rolling at the turn on a dime relationship). It worked best, perhaps, as an historical novel, though it lacks a great deal of heart dealing with the pandemic.
Also, if you don't have any knowledge of chemistry or know who the Radium Girls were (fortunately I did on both counts), a very important plot element won't make a lot of sense.
Some of the writing seemed quite good, then it would sink into plodding dreary passages that had me speeding it up to get through. I did finish, but left me thinking what could have been a great book seemed more of a hot mess.
The narrator was fine except for her pronunciation of 'grippe' it is GRIP not GRIPE
95 of 104 people found this review helpful
I listened for free with Kindle Unlimited, which is often a crap shoot. Some books are awful beyond belief and some are excellent. This was the latter. I passed on it a zillion times because I’m not a big mystery/thriller fan on audio, but this was so much more than just a mystery.
The mystery was actually quite complex, and I had no clue “whodunit.” Beyond the solving the mystery aspect were the characters, all of whom were well done but the three main characters were written with such nuance. You root for all three of them—even the one woman who is rather selfish at the beginning of the story still has redeeming qualities. Each character grows as a person as they try to make good lives for themselves, which looks different for all three of them.
Loved the historical aspect—so well done—and loved the audio narrator.
I think this might be my favorite fiction read of the year.
61 of 67 people found this review helpful
WW1, radium poisoning, pandemic flu and a series of murders makes this a rather dark and dismal listen. Having said that I kept listening and the twists was there to improve things