The Wonderful

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

I received a free electronic copy of this unique mystery from Netgalley, Saskia Sarginson, and Flatiron Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to recommend this work to friends and family.

This historical novel takes us with the Delaney military family as they are transferred from a posting in Iowa to Blackheath U.S. Airbase in England in 1957. Father Todd who was a pilot in England during WWII is doing highly classified cold war work in England. Wife Ruby who is English and met and married Todd at the end of WWII, Is not anxious to see her family, though they are in the next county. Neither Todd nor the children know anything about her family, other than the fact that she was raised on a farm. Ruby is getting more high-strung every day and has doubled up on her anxiety medication despite the fact that the army wives and families try to make the Delaney family feel welcome. The twins, twelve years old, are adjusting as best they can. Christopher suffers from severe scoliosis and wears a metal and leather brace from thighs to chin 23 hours a day but there is a good doctor at the base to keep up with his needs. He loves movies, and anything sci-fi and does well in school. Hedy is charged every waking minute to watch out for and protect Christopher by her mother. Hedy does well in school but is a tomboy who loves baseball and doesn't fit in well with the other girls. School is ok at Blackheath, but Chris is teased and pestered. Christopher 'escapes' Hedy's short leash a couple of times, finds a hole in the perimeter fence and winds up in the forest that encloses three sides of the base. He meets kids that live in the forest, purple kids, and an old fellow named Joe. These are things he prefers to keep to himself. He has no privacy nor any secrets prior to the encounter with the bald purple kids, so he isn't willing to share except maybe with his sister. He does keep a sort of journal and writes short stories so he has that going for him.

And things just begin to crumble, from there. Dad is stressed and drinking more each day. He suffers nightmares almost nightly. The only plus for him is the fact that he is working with Hank, again -they flew together in the war and were both enraptured with Ruby though she was aware of only Todd. Hank actually got Todd this promotion and job. Ruby is frantic and paranoid - is Todd seeing someone else? Is he really working day and night? What is his relationship with their neighbor's wife, Betty? - and then her base pharmacy is out of her particular anti-anxiety meds. There is really no way to go but downhill from there. But what a trip!
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This will break your heart and fill you with admiration for Hedy, a young woman whose family is torn apart by a series of odd events on a US airbase in the UK in 1957.  Her mother Ruby was born in Norfolk but left her brother Ernest and their hard scrabbly farm behind to marry Todd, a US Air Force pilot.  They moved to the US and were happy there with their twins Hedy and Chris, despite Christopher's scoliosis.  Their reassignment to the UK opens a can of worms- Ruby's mental health, Chris's physical health, and the weird concrete circle Christopher finds in the woods outside the fence line.  Are there aliens there?  He's convinced that there are.  This is a book one should discover on one's own- live through the twists and turns without a blurb to guide.  It's gorgeously written and you, like me, might learn something.  Hedy's ability to pick herself up after tragedy, to persevere, and her love for her mother made this a standout for me.  The secondary characters such as the kindly Mrs Rose, Peter, Claire, Scott, and Hank are all well drawn.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  This is a terrific, evocative read with a wonderful heroine.
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A heat wrenching book a book that will bring tears to your eyes.Britan the war A family destroyed Hedy the only survivor Hedy who must be strong Hedy whose quest will also reveal family secrets.Historical fiction at its best.drew me in could not put down. #netgalley #flatiron.
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Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this ARC. The Wonderful was a journey for sure. The beginning I was trying to figure out where the story was leading, but then I could not put it down! Read the entire book in less than 2 days. The whole book followed Hedy, who had to deal with the loss of her entire family and spent years unable to move past what happened. She eventually learned the truth and was able to find her own happiness. 
I did not know about the historical ties from real military events before reading this, and it makes it more impactful to learn about. 
The author did an amazing job spreading the book over years and had closure at the end.
#Thewonderful #netgalley
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