A mixed feeling book. It is the history of a Jewish books' survival throughout history when different religions constantly found themselves at war or at odds with each other.
It is told from multiple viewpoints and times in history. The modern day character, Hanna, a restorer of antique books I found to be un-likeable and I could never really feel as if I cared. Her storyline I thought was intrusive, boring and pointless and seemed to be added in just to give her something to do.
The other parts, which tell the imagined, fictional journey of the book through the past 500 years are well written and interesting, but also feel as if they are lacking in something. I never truly got the feeling of the time they were set in and because they were only short parts, whose characters were for the most part, never re-visited again there was not a sense of a storyline that flowed.
Brooks is an author who can create a scene, characters, feelings - scents and sounds with such a beautiful sense of language that it is still quite enjoyable to read in a way. However, where she excels at actual writing, she lacks the ability to draw a wholesome or rounded plot together, which you would expect from someone who constructs such beautiful sentences. The idea and the story is indeed very interesting, but it misses it's full potential.
However, saying that - I do like Geraldine Brooks and will continue to read her books, I think. I really enjoyed Year of Wonders despite the questionably contrived ending and would recommend it above this one.