It feels like a good while since I’ve posted any book reviews on here! Today, I’d like to share a special book with you—special, because even though it would fit in one of the genres I tend to frequent (historical fiction), it isn’t a time period I have experienced in a book before: The 70s, after the Vietnam War. It’s also a unique book because it’s a split-time novel; there are three different parts to the story, and each of them takes place somewhere around 10-20 years apart. I stayed up late to finish reading last night, partly because I knew I needed to get this review up, but also partly because it was really interesting. But…enough waffling. Let’s get on with the synopsis.
And of course, I do have to put a disclaimer in here—some links are affiliate links, that support this blog at no extra expense to you (thank you!), and I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review. 🙂
About this book:
In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.
Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.
Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.
Buy your copy here.
Several years ago, I heard a mention of a new novel by Susie Finkbeiner. I admired the cover, but never actually stopped to pick it up to read it—despite it sitting on my Kindle almost begging me to read it for quite a while! Fast forward to a month or so ago, when I saw that she had another one coming out. This one came recommended by an author I know and appreciate, so I signed up to review it. Little did I know the story would suck me in the way it did. I remember catching something about Operation Babylift, Vietnam, and split-time novel from the description, but I was unprepared for the depth and beauty I’ve met within these pages.
These characters each have heart-touching stories of love, hope, and a dash of grief—the things we run into in our normal lives. I admired the author’s ability to pull me into each time, helping me to get to know the characters at their different stages. I never was confused about whose head and what time I was in (and got more than one good chuckle at the observations about 70’s styles or decor!), and each thread of the story is expertly woven into the others, while still pulling its own weight. I’m in awe—and, yes, a little jealous—of how the story crafting was done.
The history? I could rhapsodize about that, too, but I won’t. This book is well worth reading if you enjoy stories that aren’t necessarily your typical historical or contemporary reads. It also isn’t that strong on romance, which I enjoyed as a change—there’s a married couple in here, but the focus is on the family growing as a whole, rather than their relationship. You see little hints every now and then—with a kiss or some other romantic gesture, but that’s not the main point of the book. A recommended story!
If you enjoy historical fiction (like me) and aren’t necessarily looking for a romance novel, but one that deals with normal, everyday life and the struggles and joys we often face, this could be an excellent book for you. I appreciated that the author dealt with some tough topics (like adoption and difficult mothers-in-law) in this story; it never felt forced, but I was glad that it was there.
Have you read any historical fiction that really stood out to you lately?