Friday, August 13, 2010

Read Local: Almost Home

Pam Jenoff became an international sensation with her first novel The Kommandant's Girl, an historic fiction set in Poland during WWII.  Readers wanted more and Jenoff delivered with The Diplomat's Wife, in which one of the Kommandant's supporting characters takes center stage.

Almost Home: A NovelWith her latest novel, she steps away from historic fiction to give us a present-day spy adventure.  It makes you wonder if there's anything Jenoff can't write.

In Almost Home, Jordan Weiss works for the State Department as an Intelligence Agent.  It's been ten years since she graduated from Cambridge, ten years since her fellow crew member and boyfriend Jared drowned in the River Cam.  She vowed never to return to England and has managed to avoid assignments there.  But when she learns that her dear friend is terminally-ill, she puts in for a transfer to England.

Weiss's assignment is to investigate the Albanian mob.  She's also contacted by an old college friend who was on crew with Jordan and Jared. He suspects Jared was murdered. 

Jordan's no damsel in distress.  She's been compared to Jason Bourne of the Bourne Identity.  They both have lots of action and international intrigue, but Jordan has a past that she remembers, a past that she must revisit to solve her case and to learn what really happened to Jared.

I really enjoyed Almost Home.  Up until the very end, I wasn't sure who was the good guy and who was the bad guy.  Jenoff's knowledge and love of London and Cambridge is obvious in that they are not merely backdrops, but essential characters in this mystery.

A Hidden Affair: A NovelWhat really happened to Jared?  No need to wait; the sequel A Hidden Affair has just been released.  These two books make for a great week of beach reading.  Just make sure there are lifeguards on the beach, because your kids are on their own.

Who should read this:  Anglophiles who love to read about dreary old England while on the sunny shores of Jersey.

Philly Shout Outs:  There are none, but it's nice to travel abroad.

Philly Street Cred:  Pam Jenoff teaches law at Rutgers University in Camden.

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