This year I haven’t done well with keeping up with the books I choose to review for publishers. I have a pile of them that I received this spring and summer and was so excited about, but then….but then life happened.
Right around the time this book arrived, I moved back to Kentucky, started working again (but with a lot of regulations), my health dipped, my grandfather died, and I didn’t hardly read for several months.
But now I’ve finally I found some balance in my world and here I am with another review. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE BOOK
It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.
India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India–and of Owen–fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.
In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices–between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK
The title and cover of the book do a good job of conveying what the story is about – a languid and flitting story that delves deep into the minute details and focuses on the little things.
If the story was a song, it would be a piano instrumental piece. If the story was a painting, it would be a sun-dappled peaceful stream scene. If the story was a day, it would be a Sunday afternoon right in the heart of Summer.
Nothing was wrong with this book, but it wasn’t what I was in the mood for during this time in my life, which is unfortunate. Therefore, I’m going to go for the three pros and three cons approach for this review.
- The book explored a subject that I don’t know a lot about, and I’ve only read one other author who delves into the world of entomology (the study of insects) in her stories. The book was well-researched and the characters stayed very true to what I would imagine an entomologist to be like. I was impressed by the level of detail the author went into without making the book boring
- The main characters were varied and well-written. I liked Owen a lot – he was sweet, kind, and I could imagine having a friend like him in real life. Although I didn’t like Nora (more about that in the cons section) she still was well-written, had a good character arc, and had many details making her feel complete
- The setting was beautiful – every time I read I felt like I was out in the wilderness. I could nearly feel the heat, and watch the bugs, and reach out to touch the butterflies. This book was filled with nature and that was peaceful
- Nora, the main character, wasn’t someone I liked. I know this is completely subjective, but I couldn’t relate to her and – sadly – found her annoying. Except in regard to one person, she always had to have her own way. She was headstrong and rude. I get why she was that way. And she was well written. I just didn’t like her
- The writing was too flowery for my tastes. Some people would really like the style, just not me. There were also a lot of similes and metaphors that didn’t completely make sense to me
- I really liked Owen, the main male character, but there were times when the way Nora related to him bothered me. It felt like she was too focused on how he looked, and little romantic scenes would be thrown in at times that didn’t make sense
Snippets From the Story
These were sentences I marked as I was reading because I felt like they did a good job of showing the pace and writing style of the book:
She felt the languid pace of her new home seep into her pores and thicken her blood so that it traveled through her veins as unhurried as the Indian people who lived life without any clocks.Page 133 of Mosaic of Wings
They studied the ponderous movements of a green beetle and watched a brilliant blue flycatcher eat a dragonfly and tripped over moss-covered rocks that made stepping-stones across transparent creeks.Page 144 of Mosaic of Wings
Dryness filled her mouth, and her heart – which had spent the previous six years sheltered beneath barely-there veneer of phlegmatic constraint – twisted so violently, she though the pain must rival being stung by a thousand ants.Page 154 of Mosaic of Wings
The trail wended up Mount Nebo, and soon they stood overlooking the mist-enshrouded trees surrounding Kodaikanal. The waxing moon, pregnant with the desire for completion, poured its ghostly light over the houses trailing down the hill.Page 258 of Mosaic of Wings
I didn’t have anything morally wrong with the contents of this book, except there was a feminist bend to the story that I don’t agree with.
There are, however, a few things that are dealt with in the book that wouldn’t be suitable for young readers.
The book talks about child prostitution and abuse in the Indian temples (it doesn’t go into detail). The main character’s father dies before the story and she deals with that throughout the whole book. The main character has a hostile and manipulative relationship with her step-father. There are a few mentions of gambling, a child born out of wedlock, a suicide (mentioned, no details), and a few scenes with slight violence. There are also multiple times that the two main characters sneak out to look at bugs together in the middle of the night.
I’m giving Mosaic of Wings 3 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for sending me this book to review.