I gotta admit, when I first saw this book shortly after reading The House By The Cypress Trees, I was torn. On the one hand, Cypress had been awesome – light and fun and almost feeling like you were there in Italy experiencing everything with the characters. On the other, this was very obviously a female writing about the MeToo movement – something I’ve seen very little balance on when I’ve seen it in my feeds. So I was leery of this book, but ultimately I decided to take it on and try it.
And yes, it had its moments of wanting to throw it through the nearest window.
But by the end of the book there actually is much more balance and nuance than it initially appears there might be – Mikalsen truly does a great job placing that in the book, even if much of it comes in the last quarter of the book in its final scenes. She uses a concurrent plot of Big Pharma corruption to balance the scales a bit, even while having characters she clearly thinks of as the protagonist and antagonist, and this plot could well have been described in the 2019 book Drugs Money and Secret Handshakes by Robin Feldman it was that seemingly plausible.
Frankly this was an excellent story, and its dichotomy with the author’s previous work shows just how good of a storyteller Mikalsen really is. Very much recommended.
As always, the Amazon/ Goodreads review:
Divergent Style Shows Strength As Storyteller. The singular best thing I can say about this book is that with its dramatic departure from the style and tone of the author’s previous book The House By The Cypress Trees it truly shows just how great of a storyteller she is. This particular book is a drama with few laughs and a fair amount of heartbreak going back over two decades, with its overall story solidly rooted in the travails of the MeToo movement and anti-Big Pharma activism. For many, the reader’s own thoughts on those two subjects will largely determine how you feel about the book, but speaking as someone who was leery of the book when I noticed it was diving towards MeToo stuff it actually turned out to be a solid, well balanced tale. Very much recommended.