Sunday, August 5, 2018

Red, White, BlueRed, White, Blue by Lea Carpenter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Red, White, Blue was a very different read for me. I am an avid reader of espionage books and the book description really stands out. I received a copy via Penguin Random House's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. Anna has just lost her father Noel who was a larger than life role model for her. They did most things together after Lulu, Anna's mother left the family. What struck me most about Anna's memory of that event was how both of them responded to Lulu's leaving. The reader sees how devoted her father is to Anna, but, we also see despite how cold he might seem she overhears his response which shows just how human he really is and also draws the reader closer to Noel and his love for his family. As the reader is shown Noel in more of a third person viewpoint as different characters in the book describe Noel and his actions throughout his life, as they understood them.

There was one thing that was hard for me throughout the book and what stopped me from giving it five stars. There were numerous aspects throughout the book where I had trouble determining who was speaking. In some areas, it felt like Anna was remembering conversations with Noel and with Jake and with a man who was trained by and worked with Noel. At times it felt like I was reading a memoir of Noel's life told by Anna and the man she met while on her honeymoon. I was not quite sure how I felt about Anna's relationship with her husband Jake. It almost felt like when she was on her own she met someone whose personality was similar to her father's and he basically took over in molding her to be what he needed her to be just as Noel did after her mother left. The reader spends their time changing their mind throughout the book about who Noel was and what he did that caused the different agencies to descend upon Anna after Noel died. Lulu seemed to recognize this when she saw all the perfectly ironed and spaced shirts in Jake's closet and questioned their relationship. What is odd is that whatever the structure of their relationship, he also seemed to need her and her approval for his life to work the way he needed. Red, White, Blue is a great book with amazing character development. Outside of the confusing point of view which just may be my interpretation of the flow of the book, this is a thrilling, character-driven mystery.

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