My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A majority of my reading comes from the mystery, thriller, and historical fiction genres. Occasionally, I step outside these realms to sample new authors or topics. Climbing the Coconut Tree is one of those occasions where it’s not the typical read for me, but it absolutely has elements of mystery and focuses on a specific historical period. I saw the author’s book reviews and interaction via blogs, social media apps, and websites and decided to give something new a chance. I’m glad I did!
The novel is based on real-life events from ~75 years ago in the Pacific Ocean when cultures were clashing and emerging in a world very far from my own. The author, and many characters in the book, are Australian. An island’s population has been drastically impacted by the various wars and visitors over the years, but in particular in recent periods. The story chronicles the life of several who try to protect what they can, balancing the true purpose of non-natives being on the island against those who want to take back what is theirs and others who were made promises about a better life. Tragedy ensues, and readers are left quite curious to learn more about what really happened so many years ago between the Chinese, Japanese, natives, and other visitors.
When I began the book, the most apparent thing to me was how well the author assembles descriptions of either people or settings. Much of the first portion has minimal plot, so we focus on what a few key people think about the island and what’s happening in the world around them. We get to know the mindset of the characters and create a vivid picture in our minds of the location we probably have not ever seen, nor might not ever see. By midway, the plot evolves slowly until we see the growing tension among the various classes and populations. Karakaltsas weaves a light but powerful level of drama within the words she chooses to tell the story. By three quarters of the way through, the mystery elements kicked in and I found myself intrigued to learn what really happened on the island. I won’t say anymore, so that I don’t spoil any plot lines.
I’m glad I went in to this one knowing nothing about the history of the place. It might’ve ruined the story for me if I already knew the outcome. It’s sparked some interest in the reality of the situation, so kudos to the author for inspiring readers to want to learn more about the events. I look forward to seeing more from this writer, as she has a strong handle on turning real-life events into tales that entertain and awaken her readers.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.