Sunday, May 02, 2021

Review: Tears of Amber by Sofia Segovia

 

Title: Tears of Amber
Author: Sofia Segovia, Translated by Simon Bruni
Narrator: Will Damron, Angela Dawe
Published: May 2021, Brilliance Audio / Amazon Crossing
Length: 15 hours 14 minutes / 494 pages
Source: Audio via Brilliance Publishing / Print via OTRPR

Summary:
From the bestselling author of The Murmur of Bees comes a transportive novel of two families uprooted by war and united by the bonds of love and courage.

With war looming dangerously close, Ilse’s school days soon turn to lessons of survival. In the harshness of winter, her family must join the largest exodus in human history to survive. As battle lines are drawn and East Prussia’s borders vanish beneath them, they leave their farm and all they know behind for an uncertain future.

But Ilse also has Janusz, her family’s young Polish laborer, by her side. As they flee from the Soviet army, his enchanting folktales keep her mind off the cold, the hunger, and the horrors unfolding around them. He tells her of a besieged kingdom in the Baltic Sea from which spill the amber tears of a heartbroken queen.

Neither of them realizes his stories will prove crucial and prophetic.

Not far away, trying and failing to flee from a vengeful army, Arno and his mother hide in the ruins of a K√∂nigsberg mansion, hoping that once the war ends they can reunite their dispersed family. But their stay in the walled city proves untenable when they find themselves dodging bombs and scavenging in the rubble. Soon they’ll become pawns caught between two powerful enemies, on a journey with an unknown destination.

Hope carries these children caught in the crosshairs of war on an extraordinary pilgrimage in which the gift of an amber teardrop is at once a valuable form of currency and a symbol of resilience, one that draws them together against insurmountable odds.


 

My thoughts:  This is the first book I've read by Sofia Segovia, but it certainly will not be the last. I am always looking for new authors to read and love when I find those that just have that knack for crafting such captivating reads. 

I've read a lot of historical fiction that centers on WWII, but this one has such a different feel to it and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated that. This is why I continue to read these books - I always find these gems that stand out and this one certainly does. This book, inspired the real events, is a family saga that follows two families in Prussia before, during and after the war. It is impossible not to become completely consumed by these characters and all that they endure throughout the book.

This book is told from multiple perspectives. I particularly loved that we hear from two children from the two different families, Ilse and Arno. Neither one really understands what is going on in the beginning when the war first starts, but over time, they come to understand the harsh realities of what is going on, seeing firsthand the horrors of living during war times.

This is the type of book that you need to take your time with. It is a gripping read that grabs hold of your heart and doesn't let up. The characters come alive on the pages and you feel as if you are living the struggles, and some moments of joy, that they are going through right along with them. It truly is an atmospheric, all-encompassing read that it so hard to describe.

I absolutely loved this story, as heartbreaking as it was. And I will definitely be adding Sofia Segovia to my must-read list of authors. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I highly recommend picking this one up!



Audio thoughts: I had the opportunity to listen to this book and what a fantastic audio it was. I am a fan of both Will Damron and Angela Dawe and thought they did a great job with their parts. Each was able to bring just the right amount of emotion and tension to their voices as needed and their pacing was spot on. Even though the story is tough to listen to at times, it was well-done!


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