Sophia Bar-Lev,
The Silver Locket
(independent, 2015)

I am of mixed minds about this book.

On the one hand, Sophia Bar-Lev's The Silver Locket is a thoughtful and positive look at historical adoptions, albeit in an idealized way. There were all kinds of ways in which Trouble could have inserted itself ... and yet, it did not. While this is very positive, I also think it's at least somewhat unrealistic.

On the other hand -- since Trouble never does insert itself -- one starts to wonder what is the point? The crisis -- an adopted daughter curious about her birth mother -- is handled matter-of-factly, and it all works out GREAT.

I had a hard time keeping track of the characters, because, while they were all sympathetic, they were not differentiated. The husbands were all-understanding -- granted that's an ideal, but it's not likely; if I found out my husband had hid a secret child from me for 18-plus years, I'd at least be annoyed about the subterfuge!

And spoiler, possibly: even the one Real Baddie, who seems to be a stone psychopath, gets redeemed in the end, because he learned SO MUCH in prison. Um. Not the way to bet.

I will also mention the very conservative values: WAY before Purity Balls, etc., were a thing, Bar-Lev introduces a similar concept with a ring Rebecca's parents give her for her 18th birthday, so she will remember to stay pure until a suitable guy puts a ring on it. And God forbid she share an apartment with her fiance before they are wed!

So, if you want a tale about how adoption can work fabulously for everyone, well this is it. Yes, there's some personal angst, but it's not overwhelming.

I am clearly not coming from the base of Bar-Lev's usual readers, and they seem to find this wonderful. As a piece of fiction, though, it is rather pointless.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

22 August 2015

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