4 out of 4 stars
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THE DANCING BARBER BY AC MICHAEL
My interest is always piqued by historical thrillers, so I decided to give this book a try. Who can go wrong with a book based on the Ukraine Famine of 1933 (of which I knew very little about) and life of the refugees 30 years later as they now live in England. I was a little daunted by the number of pages of this book, but I dove right in. It did take me a bit of time to get into it, but as the different stories began to roll out before me I was intrigued by how this was all going to be pieced together. I rate this book a 4 out of 4. It was well written and kept me on the edge of my seat. If you are a historical fiction lover this book is a must. I will be searching out other books by AC Michael.
As the main characters of this book were all survivors of The Great Famine and had now begun new lives in England, it was obvious how they wanted so much more out of their lives. The desperation of Taras who wanted the fame and recognition he desired even at the expense of those closest to him. His only hope was his ballet school since his barbershop was a failure. How their letters to family in Ukraine were filled with lies about how great life in England was. I could not wait to see how Halyna would stand up for herself when it came to Taras or to see what kind of mess Klem had gotten himself into, especially with his fiance and her twin. The author’s use of descriptions was excellent. I could smell the mothballs and the mold. I could imagine the dark dingy rooms.
The author’s use of cultural references and words also made this book more relatable to the times. Flat caps, headscarves, patsky, and durak. The book also enlightened the reader as to Ukrainian Easter traditions as the story takes place during Easter. The young ballerinas trying to translate Taras ballet terms was a fun little aside. I also like how the book was broken down into Acts.
This book had just the right amount of twists that made me keep wanting to read more. Overall this was a very good read. The story kept my interest and I wanted to see what happened next. There were moments I laughed out loud and moments that made me cringe. The ending was everything I hoped it would be.
The Dancing Barber
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