Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer


Star Rating : 3.5 out of 5

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Content Rating : NONE

Back Cover :

"For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats. 

It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt begins to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics.  It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it.
 
A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire brings to life the most impressive-and embattled- engineering achievement of the twentieth-century.”
 

My Thoughts :

I thought the historical part of the book was 4 stars; but, the story itself was 3 stars, hence my 3.5 rating. As I have said before, I love historical fiction. Brouwer does a great job pulling you into Panama. Don’t miss the author’s note at the end, it further explains what was happening in the book and gives some more interesting facts about the time period. The story itself lacked something. The setting was the true strength of the book for me. My recommendation for the book is read it if you enjoy a good historical fiction book; but, don’t go out of your way. 

I gave this a content rating on NONE. There was no language, no sexual themes, and the violence was minimal and not in detail.

What I liked :

  • The Details – I enjoyed all the historical details. I knew almost nothing about the building of the Panama Canal; and, I found myself googling random things to see if it really happened or to find out more about it. For instance, did you know that women were the first to wear wrist watches and men didn’t until they started using them in war?
  • The Setting – It’s a unique setting. The Panama Canal in the early 1900s comes alive. It was a setting I knew almost nothing about and enjoyed immensely.
  • The Characters ­– Overall I really enjoyed the characters, in particular T.B. Miskimon. He is not the main character; but, I found his interactions with the main character Holt rather funny.

What I didn’t like :

  • The Summary/Title – The summary and title are a bit misleading. It overemphasis Saffire’s role. She ends up not being in much of the book at all. Also, it calls it a love story. The main character does end up in love; but, it is such a small part of the book and almost feels added in. The two characters only have two short scenes together.
  • Suspense – You basically knew who the ‘bad guys’ were; but, the story is a bit disjointed so I didn’t really understand what the big mystery was. The last chapter comes in and sums everything up; but, I found myself halfway through losing some interest in the mystery.
  • Christian Fiction? I have no clue why this is labeled Christian Fiction, unless no cussing automatically makes it one. There are no Christian themes. It also mentions the main character, Holt, living with his wife before they were married. There is one scene where a dying man asks Holt to pray for him and Holt bulks at it. So historical, yes. Christian, no. 

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
 

What Others Are Saying :

"An intelligent mystery...Sigmund Brouwer’s 'Saffire' is a fascinating novel. Unique, smart and compelling, Saffire is sure to be remembered well after the last page."—BookPage 

“Captivating! Emotional and impeccably researched. Saffire is a sweeping, early twentieth century novel with a colorful supporting cast and a main character who is both steadfast and strong. Brouwer weaves historical fact and storytelling with an expert pen—leaving the reader satisfied and, at times, in awe of the mystery and intrigue reminiscent of the classic Casablanca. I didn’t put it down until I turned the final page.”--Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster’s Wife


Reviewed by Shayna Hinshaw


Pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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