Publish Date: August 16, 2016
For President Teddy Roosevelt, controlling the east-west passage between two oceans mattered so much that he orchestrated a revolution to control it. His command was to ‘let the dirt fly’ and for years, the American Zone of the Panama Canal mesmerized the world, working in uneasy co-existence with the Panamanian aristocrats.
It’s in this buffered Zone where, in 1909, James Holt begins to protect a defenseless girl named Saffire, expecting a short and simple search for her mother. Instead it draws him away from safety, into a land haunted by a history of pirates, gold runners, and plantation owners, all leaving behind ghosts of their interwoven desires sins and ambitions, ghosts that create the web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics. It will also bring him together with a woman who will change his course—or bring an end to it.
A love story set within a historical mystery, Saffire brings to life the most impressive-and embattled- engineering achievement of the twentieth-century.
I really enjoyed the historical background this book had- I am a big fan of real people being woven into a storyline about something that truly could have happened. The characters were developed thoroughly, and I particularly enjoyed the interview scene within the first few chapters, highlighting James’ sarcasm and wittiness. The amount of “real”ness in the book was perfect for historical fiction- there was enough emotion without taking away the importance of the era we were reading about and the important people it involved.
I will have to admit, I got off to a slow start reading this. It failed to catch my attention from the beginning in a way that wouldn’t allow me to put it down. I enjoyed the corruption, conspiracies, and sabotage, but felt lost for a portion of the book. The letters helped me, but I think it would have been more helpful if placed at the beginning of the book so I could gain all of the information at once and it wouldn’t have been so difficult for me to follow.
Overall, I did enjoy the layers that were infused into this story and the exquisite character development. The interaction between the characters allowed me to truly understand the types of people they were and I really enjoyed that. Knowing how everything turned out, I would probably re-read the story again so I wouldn’t feel as lost. The ending packs a punch and it really does help put everything together for the reader. Overall, an intriguing story, that makes me want to go explore the beauty of the Panama Canal.
Thank you to Blogging for Books (and WaterBrook Publishing) for gifting me this book in exchange for my review!