Saturday, January 2, 2021

What Could Be SavedWhat Could Be Saved by Liese O'Halloran Schwarz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I won this book from Simon & Schuster on the Book Club Favorites Facebook page. 

It is a long book, over 400 pages, but the writing flowed well, and after the first couple of chapters the book was hard to put down. While I sped right through the book, I am sitting here not sure what I thought of it. I liked it, of course, but I didn’t like everything about it. Most of the characters were not very likable, for one thing. There was also subject matter that was not easy to read; drug use, sex trafficking, poverty.

The story is told in 2 time lines. The first is in the early 1970s in Bangkok, where Robert Preston works undercover, and has brought his family along—a wife and 3 children. After being there almost 4 years, the son disappears without a trace. The 2nd timeline takes place nearly 50 years later, in 2019, when a man claiming to be Philip, the missing son, makes contact with the younger sister. While there are some current day family issues—the mother has Alzheimers, the younger sister has commitment issues, and the older sister is ‘bossy’—much of the story revolves around Philip. Is this man really Philip? What happened to Philip?

While I didn’t really bond to any character, I did want to know what happened to Philip. I also enjoyed reading about 1970s Bangkok, and the arrangement of household servants. The one character I really did like was Noi, the ‘number 3’ servant. I would have liked to have known more about her after the family left Bangkok. I also felt that the final chapter did not need to be there. It didn’t really add anything that I (or Laura) needed to know, and I’m not sure what the point was.

Overall, I liked this book a lot. It will make a great selection for book clubs and for readers who enjoy historical fiction and want to learn a little about the living conditions in Southeast Asia in the early 1970s. 

My rating: ✭✭✭✭

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