Monday, January 31, 2005

Homeward My Heart: Exciting Conclusion to the "Daughters of Fortune" Series

Judith Pella’s "Daughters of Fortune" series comes to a close with the fourth book, Homeward My Heart. Daughters Cameron, Blair and Jackie have been through many hardships of World War II, scars they still deal with during the war’s aftermath. This part, set in 1946 and 1947, reveals a world now beginning a Cold War – and we get a good look at Stalin’s paranoia and hard-line tactics in the Soviet Union. More than half of the story takes place in Russia, with all three daughters spending a good amount of time there. The Russia plots involve Cameron’s husband, Alex, while also neatly tying up the Semyon half-brother story and introducing new relationships for other Hayes family members.

As always, the story keeps a good pace, with excitement and suspense as we share Alex’s desperation and growing problems with the Soviet government. Though we expect everything to turn out okay, the story’s circumstances certainly show a bleak picture at times, as we wonder how the author can get the character out of a very grave situation. A few other plot lines also seem unrealistic, but bring a nice closure to the "Daughters of Fortune" series.

Our old friends, including the Federcenko family, and Alex’s friend (Anatoly Bogorodsk) are back, and we get a closer look at a previously minor character, Cameron and Alex’s contact Robert Wood.

As with most historical fiction novels, especially a series’ conclusion, this book gives a nice, happy ending for all the characters. After all the tragedies of the previous parts to this series, it is nice to enjoy the lighter, happier parts of Homeward My Heart. Of course, along the way some of the characters still suffer, and work through some serious issues (such as the Japanese American racism).

Homeward My Heart is an excellent addition to the "Daughters of Fortune" series. I only wish it were not the end. Judith Pella has done a great job with character development and plots for these young women, with their relationships to each other and their family, against the backdrop of active World War II involvement.

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