Friday, April 12, 2019

Book Review - Nothing Is Forgotten by Peter Golden

Book Synopsis
From the beloved author of Comeback Love and Wherever There Is Light, comes “a sweeping tale full of humor and heartbreak” (Karin Tanabe, author of The Diplomat’s Daughter) about the life-changing journey of a young man who travels from New Jersey to Khrushchev’s Russia and the beaches of Southern France to discover long-hidden secrets about his heritage.

In 1950s New Jersey, teacher Michael Daniels—or Misha Danielov to his doting Russian-Jewish grandmother—is at loose ends, until he becomes the host of a nightly underground radio show. Not only does the show become a local hit because of his running satires of USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, but half a world away, it picks up listeners in a small Soviet city.

There, with rock and roll leaking in through bootlegged airwaves, Yulianna Kosoy—a war orphan in her mid-twenties—is sneaking American goods into the country with her boss, Der Schmuggler.

But just as Michael’s radio show is taking off, his grandmother is murdered. Why would anyone commit such an atrocity against such a warm, affable woman? She had always been secretive about her past and, as Michael discovers, guarded a shadowy ancestral history. In order to solve the mystery of who killed her, Michael sets out for Europe to learn where he—and his grandmother—really came from.

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Purchase Links

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My Review

Nothing is Forgotten begins in the late 1950's in South Orange, New Jersey.  Michael "Misha" Daniels is a teenager looking for direction in his life.  He begins working on a small radio show, which eventually becomes popular locally ... and overseas in Russia.  After his beloved grandmother is murdered at the family candy store in 1964, Misha travels overseas to find answers about her past -- from Germany to Russia to France, and eventually to Atlanta and Los Angeles.   His story intertwines with that of Yulianna "Yuli" Kosoy, a war orphan in Russia.


I was initially interested in reading this novel because of the time period -- most of the book takes place between 1964 - 1965.  I love historical fiction and retro pop culture, and my curiosity was piqued.


This is such a fascinating and complex book -- it is a love story, a family history, a mystery, and a spy thriller all at once.  It takes place in an everyday town in the late 1950's to mid-1960's, but also deals with the tragic history of the Holocaust and its effect on a family.


There are so many twists and turns in the novel -- just when I thought I had everything figured out something else happened.  I found this a really compelling book and basically read in all my spare time for a couple of days because I was so curious to see where the book would go next.


The writing is absolutely beautiful -- the descriptions are so vivid and the historical details are perfect.  I have not read Peter Golden's books before, but will certainly look for his other novels now.


I am very impressed with the sweep of the book.  The author captures Americana and 1960's life so well, with details about candy in the family shop, a girlfriend compared to a Barbie doll, and descriptions like "this nondescript street of Colonials with one-car garages and two-family houses, in a small New Jersey town" (p. 216).


Most of all the mystery of this book is one that kept me guessing as a reader.  It is fascinating because it covers so much ground, not just from America to Russia to France, but also a young Russian man who loves the Beatles, a CIA man who knew JFK, a surprising meeting with Picasso.


I have already promised to loan my copy of Nothing Is Forgotten to my best friend with the condition that we talk about it after he finishes reading.   This is a book you will want to share and discuss -- there are so many surprises waiting here.   Highly recommended!

Author Bio

Peter Golden is an award-winning journalist, novelist, biographer, and historian. He lives outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son. He is the acclaimed author of the novels Comeback Love, Wherever There Is Light, and Nothing Is Forgotten.

1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

I love that this book was so well researched and thought put into it that details like the candy in the shop were spot on. Thanks so much for being on this tour!

Sara @ TLC Book Tours