Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Tamar by Mal Peet

Tamar by Mal Peet

Review by Lauren

bought my copy, but all opinions are still my own

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Official Summary: When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War -- and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar's life forever.

Review: I've never heard of this author before, but after reading Tamar, I definitely think I need to give some of his other novels a chance. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do, I find myself fascinated by stories that take place during WWII. For those of you that have read Code Name Verity, I think you might enjoy Tamar as well. While Tamar focuses mostly on guys during WWII, there are girls that take part in the resistance, risking their safety and very lives.

At first, the book might confuse let me just say that it starts with the parents of girl-Tamar being asked to give their daughter that name. Then, we go back to WWII and meet boy-Tamar, though that is his "code" name and not his real one. His partner is a man called Dart and they are both about to enter Holland to help the resistance for the British. Eventually, the story switches to the future again and we get an older girl-Tamar telling her story. Once you get to this point, things will continue to go back and forth between WWII and girl-Tamar going on a journey to understand her grandfather. Eventually, the two stories intertwine and truths are revealed to the characters and us, as readers.

When reading Tamar, the story starts out a bit slow, allowing readers to figure out the story, the time periods, and the characters. I was interested but a little unsure what I would think. As I kept going, I started to really invest in the story, desperate to know the answers to the questions girl-Tamar seeks. I did figure some things out as I read, but it didn't ruin the story as it's more than just a mystery that needs to be solved. There is a lot of emotion and heart within these pages. There are characters that I loved, and ones that I thought were downright despicable. I'm not sure you can call any of them "evil" per se. Some are working on emotions, some on false truths, while others act on beliefs that may or may not be wrong. Even the people on the "right" side of things are not always leading the best lives.

I would definitely recommend Tamar. It might seem a bit long, but I felt that things moved quickly once I got acclimated to the story. This would make a great discussion book for classes and book clubs.


Hilda K said...

Oh, this book does sound like something I'd like to discuss with my friends! I've read some books with WWII setting, and so far they're all very sad. I wonder whether Tamar will have the same effect on me. Awesome review, Lauren! Thank you for introducing this book to me! :)

Erika Sorocco said...

I used to read so many historical novels, but haven't in quite some time - seriously need to change that.


Liviania said...

I've heard of Mal Peet, but not this particular book.

Tracy Terry said...

That's strange, I'm able to comment on your blog by visiting via a search engine. Click on the link on my blog and I'm unable to leave a comment here. Um, definitely odd.

Anyway, whilst I love my historical fiction I tend to like it older than WWI or even II. Still, never say never I have been known to read books based in this period so I'll be sure to make a note of this title.

Great review, thanks for the recommendation.

Andrea @The Bookish Babes said...

I always say I don't enjoy WWII historical fiction, but when I think about the books I've read in that period, I actually do. I'm glad you went into Tamar with littke expectations abs found an enjoyable story!

Krysten Gautreaux said...

Sounds really interesting!

cleopatralovesbooks said...

It sounds good to me as I do love well-written historical fiction. It sounds like an interesting concept too.

Anna said...

Sounds worth checking out. Thanks for the heads-up about the slow start.

Rachel said...

I'm fascinated with historical fiction set in WWII as well, Lauren. Although, I've watched the stories instead of read them. Foyle's War with Michael Kitchen had me completely addicted! This sounds really good, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Wonderful review, Lauren! :)

Lauren D. said...

I love historical fiction, and this does sound like a wonderful choice for a book club read. Thank you for your thoughtful review and for putting it on my radar!