4 out of 4 stars
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Chameleons by Martin Wyatt is a must-read piece of historical fiction.
The Hallenstein family resides in Krako॔w, Poland under the tutelage of Grandpappy Harran, the patriarch of the family. Harran is an entomologist concerned with more than the study of insects. As the word is traveling of Hitler’s desire to eliminate the Jews, his main concern is the impending threat to his people. Armed with this knowledge, Harran feels it is important to prepare his family and friends for their unavoidable future.
Harran is especially concerned about the future of his twin granddaughters, Brygida and Mysz. From a young age, Brygida has acted as a caregiver to Mysz, and will likely face challenges if the threats to the Jews come to fruition. Harran feels a duty to impart his wisdom, hopefully ensuring the twins’ survival. He begins to spend time with Brygida, teaching her scriptures and new skills. Lessons with Brygida intensify as the threat grows near, and Harran hopes that he has done enough for his family. Can the Hallenstein family survive the horrors that await them? What does the future hold for Brygida and Mysz?
The author’s writing style is descriptive and engaging. There are several harrowing events in the storyline that are brilliantly described. It is clear the author conducted thorough research pertaining to these events in history. Interwoven among these events are romantic elements that provide the reader with solace from the horrors that occurred at the hands of the Nazis. Creative plot twists really set this book apart from other works of historical fiction.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was the bond between Brygida and Mysz. The bond between the girls goes beyond the telepathic quality twins are generally known to possess. Their bond is integral to surviving on a daily basis. Brygida has an endearing quality to put Mysz’s needs ahead of her own. Mysz’s unquestionable trust in Brygida is heartwarming. I found myself emotionally connected to Brygida and Mysz, even moved to tears.
I would be hard-pressed to find anything I disliked in regards to this book. The only criticism I would give is that I identified a few errors. The book does appear to be professionally edited, as the errors were minor in nature. These errors were not a distraction, therefore they did not negatively impact my rating.
Chameleons was a page-turner, suspenseful, surprising, disturbing, and enjoyable all at the same time. I would strongly recommend this book to individuals who enjoy fast-paced historical fiction or are interested in the events surrounding World War II. Further, there are portions of the book akin to science fiction that many may find appealing. The nature of the events that take place and the manner in which they are presented leads me to believe this book would be a wonderful selection for a book club discussion.
It is important to note that the subject matter of this book may be intense for some individuals. There are graphic descriptions of torture, genocide, and death. In addition, there are instances of adult content that may be disturbing to some. For these reasons, I would recommend this book for the mature, or adult reader. I would not recommend this book for individuals sensitive to these topics or the events surrounding World War II.
I thoroughly enjoyed Chameleons. Wyatt masterfully combines strong historical references with plot twists reminiscent of science fiction to provide the reader with a historical fiction piece unlike any other. I am delighted to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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