The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Shadows Over Paradise


I am happy reading historical fiction and Shadows Over paradise (B+) by Isabel Wolff made me very happy.

This well researched novel documents the horrific events that took place on the Pacific Island of Java during World War II. Jenni is a ghostwriter. She successfully “ghost” writes books for those who have a story to tell but aren’t able to pen it themselves. Such is the case of Karla a WWII survivor whose memories of her time in Java are so painful that it is only now at age 80 she can share them. For Jenni, interviewing Karla at her home in the seacoast village of Polvarth proves to be equally cathartic for her. The secrets they have both held so close are now revealed.

I enjoyed the delivery of the story told in alternating chapters. Always before Karla starts her reminiscing, she engages Jenni in conversation about herself. Karla senses that she knows Jenni but isn’t sure how and with each chat she draws closer to the memory that will reveal the truth.

The scenes in the interment camps are hard to read. The author works at relief by switching between past and present. Had she not done this, I wouldn’t have finished the book.

I am happy to have won a chance from The Library Thing to read Shadows Over Paradise. There are many books that take place during World War II but this one delivers a different perspective by showcasing events that are not often discussed. Definitely not for the feint of heart but a story well worth the effort, I encourage you to consider Shadows Over Paradise.


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