What begins as a work trip to the Canadian wilderness ends in a devastating plane crash. This should be the main story but it is just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun). We start with the survivors being asked back to a memorial and a family making the trip with the intention of telling their son what really happened. Besides the average attractions to co-workers, really lousy bosses and over the top deadlines we get the full story of heroic acts by average people and the way people deal with loss when life throws you a curve ball. Have lots of tissue handy and you might not want to read this one on a plane as I did. For anyone who loves a story of everyday people thrown into a disaster.
Victoria became Queen of England when she was just a teenager so it is no surprise that the Victoria we see in this story seems young and unfit to rule the greatest empire in the world. She had no real experience but you can get a glimpse of the steely will she had and how it would shape her in the years to come. Victoria relied heavily on her advisor, partly because she saw herself in love with him despite his mature years and also because he was the one person who didn't tell her what to do. Her mother, uncle and various family members wanted her to be a puppet Queen and she would not do that. Her first meetings with cousin Albert were interesting because we know of the great love they had for one another and yet they seemed not to have very much in common. This is a tentative Victoria, the young girl who loves her dog, dreams of first love and resides herself to knowing that she must rule.
She is silent, she is careful and she always has a plan so when an old ally comes asking for help she thinks it is a trap. She accepts one last job hoping to be free forever but the intended victim and situation get much more complicated. Jason Bourne meets Kill Bill as she and her new partners must outsmart, outmaneuver and survive the onslaught of bad guys. Fast moving plot with a few twists make this a well thought out series with two male heroes and one kick butt woman to fall in love with. This is not your daughter's "Twilight" but instead more of the smart writing we saw with her other adult novel, "The Host".
A veiled young woman enters the tent with guitar in hand and as she dances and sings folk songs from her native Mexico and others the crowd seems to love her but then they start to yell for her to take off the veil and it goes from admiration to horror. Julia was born completely covered in fur which brings her to the tragic world of circus freak shows. Her managers pretend to find her enchanting just as the audiences she and the others perform for but she can see the horror and revulsion in their eyes. As her fame grows she works even harder to be accepted for her talent not her novelty. Her new manager will become her husband and take her throughout Europe but she never achieves the one thing she wants - to be loved as a normal woman. Julia's story has been recreated so well that you can feel the pain she endured without complaint. Even after her death she was still paraded around by her husband. There is a secondary story that takes place in modern times that I felt was unnecessary but ties in with one of the characters. You will be captivated by Julia's gentle soul living in a soulless world.
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