Historical fiction

Night Came with Many Stars

by Simon Van Booy

I can honestly say that the contents of this book were unexpected. I listened to an audiobook and had requested a copy because it seemed to be a blend of historical fiction and family drama, two genres I was trying to get back into.
It is not a book for the faint of heart. There are many different sections to the narrative, with the main halves being about a grandmother and the current day grandson. This was something that I did not immediately grasp (much to my surprise). The lives of the two are further divided linearly while skipping ahead every few years into significant chunks of events. I almost gave up halfway because I did not see myself as vested in it as I would like, though, but I gave it another shot and was glad I did.
It is only after the foundation is laid, the situations explained, and people learn to live with the card they are dealt that adversities and positive changes are taken up a notch.
We begin with Carol, whose life is pure misery, and it only gets worse before any sign of relief comes her way. She is at odds with her grandson in the present-day timeline because she doesn’t think he gets the point she is trying to make about weaknesses. Without knowing the whole story, I can imagine why it would not be easier for a teenager to take such advice seriously. There is a lot of trauma – big and small, that the characters have to bear before reaching their respective middle ages. With some help from well-meaning people and family, they overcome the collective adversities. It is very realistic, even with a happier ending, because it is not magically smooth sailing for anyone.
The ending did the job of making my listening experience worth the effort because there was a point to the entire narrative. This last part is essential to me as even if the whole book is sad, I need the ending to make some sense of why I put myself through it. If this book was shorter or split into two, I would have liked it even more!
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is based on my own reading experience.

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