Monday, April 15, 2013

The Clover House (Henriette Lazaridis Power)

The Clover House, Henriette Lazaridis Power's debut novel, has been listed in the "If you liked Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key, then you'll love..." recommendation column.  However, with the exception of both being historical fiction books about World War II, I found little comparison.  While Sarah's Key is gripping and heartbreaking, holding your attention until the very end, The Clover House does so only in waves.  However, wartime Greece is thoroughly researched by Ms. Power to deliver a multi-generational, textured story.

Callie is a Greek American living in Boston with her fiance, Jonah.  She grew up in the United States, but her mother, Clio, took the first opportunity to move back to Greece after her husband passed away.  When Clio gets a call that her Uncle Nestor not only has died, but has left all of his earthly possessions to her, she heads back to the land of her heritage.  Clio is desperate to keep a secret from Callie, but Nestor seems determined to let the secret be known even in his death.

The book alternates between Callie's modern-day adventure and Clio's adolescence in Greece.  I felt like The Clover House would have worked better if the reader was able to experience what happened through Clio's eyes first, rather than hearing about it secondhand through Callie's chapters.  However, even though the book is a little dry and takes awhile to get going, I encourage the reader to stick with it for a fascinating look into Greek history.