Its been a while since I put up a book review, but that was because I hadn’t read much in the past year and now is the best time to get back to this very enriching great habit I have had for years.. I needed something which would keep me glued to the plot for hours and keep me thinking for long as to how the journey would be scripted as I go on succeeding chapters, and I got what i wanted to keep me going! This book definitely kept me hooked for hours and I completed this in a week. Very much encouraged to look into more Jeffrey Archer books after this.. Here is my spoiler-free review:
The main lead of this story is Alexander Karpenko who lives with his family in Leningrad, Russia. His family is flanked by a political background and Alexander being a typical youth is hardworking and sincere in his duties, wishes to complete college and aims for high ambitions in life. His mother, Elena is a cook at an officer’s club who seems to be seen as ordinary at first glance but shows much talent in the field of gastronomy in the later chapters of life. Due to unforeseen circumstances and grave injustice that puts Alexander and Elena’s lives in danger in their own home ground, the duo plan to escape from Russia and abscond anywhere where they can start their lives afresh away from danger. They board a ship, and have 2 options to migrate to: England or America! With a mere flip of a coin, they make a decision very dear to their lives.
The plot bifurcates into two different tales where the duo land in England in one and in the other they decide to head to America. Major part of the plot goes into how they figure their lives in both the countries going alternately into each tale keeping the timezone nearly the same. Alexander has maintained an alias in the new town, assuming the name Sasha in England and Alex in America. From there on, there is no looking back, the reader is allowed to compare between the lives of Sasha and Alex: How they work around their dreams, the new people they meet, politics and thoughts of what it would be like if they had chosen the other option. In both tales, what is much in common is that the main lead completes his university, helps his mother Elena build a career into her cooking talent which makes her the breadwinner for both of them for a long time while he builds into his career, makes the best friends for lives, makes some enemies, gets embroiled into politics, meets the love of his life and settles down and has a family to live happily for a long time.
At several points of time, when Alexander and Elena face much trouble and fall into uncanny situations, Elena tends to crib and wonder what would happen if they has chosen the other ship from Russia. At most times, Sasha/Alex in their own way when attain successes and find love in their lives look back and feel grateful that they chose to boarded the right ship. On-boarding alternately into two plots can really make the reader ponder and debate around which was a better choice between the two options for Alexander.
Very much deeper into the story, comes very strange subplots were the two lives dash against each other and makes the reader wonder that there the two tales may in fact be coexisting. Much of a clue is emphasizes that Sasha and Alex actually happens to be present at the same locations as opposed to it being two completely different tales of a case 1 and case 2 and there being absolutely no intersection of the stories. This is what really keeps me glued to the book to figure out what exactly are the happenings of this story.
I felt at times the book to be a bit predictable, but as I was about a couple of chapters away, I couldn’t smell the nature of ending even a mile away. The two tales of Sasha and Alex from one main story of Alexander at the start, slowly come together due to situations best known to both resulting in a mixed result of ending that shocked me!
I loved this book and it makes me want to grab more of Jeffrey Archer’s masterpieces.. Have you read this book yet? Or does this convince you to put it on your next readlist? Let me know in the comments! Also let me know what is the next Jeffrey Archer book that should keep me occupied for my reading time! Thank you 🙂