Friday, March 1, 2013

Review: The Secret of the Nightingale Palace by Dana Sachs

Thanks to Trish once again from TLC Book Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour.  Here is a description of The Secret of the Nightingale Palace from the Goodreads website:

Struggling to move on after her husband's death, thirty-five-year-old Anna receives an unexpected phone call from her estranged grandmother, Goldie, summoning her to New York. A demanding woman with a sharp tongue and a devotion to fashion and etiquette, Goldie has not softened in the five years since she and her granddaughter last spoke. Now she wants Anna to drive her to San Francisco to return a collection of exquisite Japanese art to a long-lost friend.

Hours of sitting behind the wheel of Goldie's Rolls-Royce soften Anna's attitude toward her grandmother, and as the miles pass, old hurts begin to heal. Yet no matter how close they become, Goldie harbors painful secrets about her youthful days in 1940s San Francisco that she cannot share. But if she truly wants to help her granddaughter find happiness again, she must eventually confront the truths of her life.

Moving back and forth across time and told in the voices of both Anna and Goldie, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace is a searing portrait of family, betrayal, sacrifice, and forgiveness—and a testament to the enduring power of love.

My Review: 
Let me start this review off by telling you how much I loved this novel!  Maybe it just made me reminiscent of the Grandmother I lost less than a year ago, but even so, it gives one the opportunity to reflect on their own relationships and how they might be saved.  Anna had a falling-out with her honest and well-to-do grandmother years ago, but for some reason Goldie wants Anna to drive her across the country, from New York to California to help her return Japanese art prints to their rightful owner.  Anna can't imagine why her grandmother would want her to drive.

Anna has spent years harboring hurt and resentment not only against the world, but against her grandmother, her dead husband, and even herself.  As she watched her husband's health deteriorate, their relationship also became a victim, being consumed by the anger and frustration that sometimes comes along with terminal illness.  Goldie did not keep it a secret that she didn't approve of Anna's marriage, so this created a rift between the two that would not be confronted for years to come.

Anna is shocked when Goldie asks her if she will drive her across the country in her Rolls Royce, but knowing she could use the time away, she hesitantly agrees.  On their journey, which takes longer than usual as Goldie is in her eighties and does need to get a decent amount of rest, the two rediscover the fondness they once had for each other and learn to appreciate what the other has to offer.

What I described so far is just a small, but important, part of the book.  A good portion of the novel takes place in 1940's California, where Goldie was a young, hard-working girl, looking to make her way in this world.  The Japanese art prints help to tell a story of a young Jewish girl who is befriended by a Japanese family.  Of course, our country has other plans for Japanese people during this time, so things do not turn as picturesque as one might think.

I loved this story that showed us a glimpse of this elderly woman's life, following her love interests, hopes, dreams, and fears.  I think many of you would enjoy this book as much as I did with themes of love, friendship, war, and family.  I don't hesitate in recommending this book for personal leisure or as a book club selection.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Harvee said...

Enjoyed your review and your comments about the grandmother.

bermudaonion said...

Yours is the second review I've read of this book and both of the reviews made it sound wonderful. I need to get this book!

Booksnyc said...

I really enjoyed this one too! I can see how it would touch you especially when you think about your grandmother.

Ti said...

Sounds like a sweet story. As first glance I would have passed this one over but I like stories like this one.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anna said...

Glad to see you loved this book as much as I did. Goldie reminded me of my gram, too, which made it hard to read at times because I only lost her just a little over a year ago.

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