Author: Kim Fay
Publisher: August 21, 2012
Publish Date: Ballantine
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
From Goodreads.com: "In 1925 the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no one understands this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for a coveted museum curatorship because she is a woman. Seeking to restore her reputation, she sets off from Seattle in search of a temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. But she soon discovers that her quest to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century is also a quest for the secrets of her family's own past. And as she travels through Shanghai's lawless back streets and Saigon’s opium-filled lanes to reach the Cambodian jungle, she does not know who to trust. A drug-addled temple robber, Simone Merlin seems to take pleasure in complicating the expedition, while jaded nightclub owner Marc Rafferty reveals a troublesome childhood mysteriously entwined with Irene’s. Even her own mentor, a notorious collector of stolen art, becomes suspect when Irene uncovers his connection to her companions."
My Two Cents:
I listened to this audiobook and really enjoyed it. This book is a historical fiction that takes place in Southeast Asia in the 1920s. There is a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance, and a really intriguing premise that kept me listening anxiously to see what happened next.
I love reading about the 1920s and I have not read many books about Southeast Asia during this time period so I found the book truly fascinating from that aspect. The way that Fay writes about Shanghai and Cambodia is truly magical. You really get to feel like what it must have been like to be in that part of the world during that time period; both glamorous and mysterious. Armchair travelers will really enjoy this book.
While I got annoyed with Irene in some parts (she really does start out kind of naive), she really grew on me. Throughout the book, she becomes a little bit more mature after acting very immaturely when she is passed over for taking over the Brooks Museum. I love when you get to see a character really change in a book as I think it can be really hard to show real growth but Fay definitely succeeds here. I wish some of that growth would have extended to some of the other characters in the book (especially ones like Simone; she is just sort of terrible throughout the entire book and never seems to learn her lesson). To that degree, I feel while you get a great sense of Irene, you don't really get a good sense of why the other characters are the way that they are. I wanted to know a little bit more about them.
Overall, I really liked listening to this book. I really liked the reader of the audiobook.
Bottom line: A good pick for historical fiction fans!