The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Rhythm of Memory by Alyson Richman

Publisher:  Berkley Trade
Release Date:  October 2, 2012
Pages:  416
The Rhythm of Memory by Alyson Richman
Book Description:  In this sweeping epic, true love transcends the brutality of war.

Octavio Ribeiro loves truth, beauty, literature, and above all else, his wife Salomé. As a student in Chile, he courted her with the words of great poets, and she fell in love with his fierce intelligence and uncompromising passion. Then a sudden coup brings a brutal military dictatorship into power, and puts anyone who resists in grave danger.

Salomé begs Octavio to put his family’s safety first, rather than speak against the new regime. When he refuses, it’s Salomé who pays the price.

Belatedly awake to the reality of their danger, Octavio finds political asylum for the family in Sweden. But for Salomé, the path back to love is fraught with painful secrets, and the knowledge that they can never go home again.

Wanda's Review:  Two individual stories are interwoven and it all comes together beautifully throughout this deeply touching book. The intriguing characters are well developed with a lot of historical background which gives a good understanding of the life and politics in Chili in the 1960's-1970's. The book comes to life with the beautiful descriptive writing of the landscapes and countrysides. 

Octavio and Salome Ribeiro are a couple living in Chili. Salome is abducted and wrongly imprisoned by Pinochet's regime. She is taken because her husband, Octavio, refuses to retract his criticism of Pinochet. Because of his beliefs of the new regime, the lives of his wife and family are at stake. 

Samuel and Kaija are important characters in the story. Samuel and his family escape France during WWII, when Samuel is a young boy, and flee to Sweden. Many family members are left behind in France. Kaija is a Finnish war child. Over 70,000 of Finland's children are sent to Sweden during the war for safety and the prospect of a better childhood. Kaija lives a life of privilege in Sweden. Nearly all the children were returned to their original families when the war ended, but Kaija was not returned until later. Kaija and Samuel eventually meet in Sweden and the story continues on. 

Alyson Richman has such a creative way of weaving this multi layered story, that spans several generations, into a compelling read. It goes without saying - I highly recommend this book by a talented author.
About the Author:  
Alyson Richman
Alyson Richman is the nationally bestselling author of The Mask Carver's Son, The Rhythm of Memory (previously published as Swedish Tango), The Last Van Gogh and The Lost Wife. Her novels have been published in fifteen languages. Her forthcoming novel, The Garden of Letters, will be published in 2014.