Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 2007 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2007)
Length: 8 hours, 25 minutes
Read by: Lorelei King
The Short Version:
World War II and a nearby Japanese internment camp make the affect the life of a young teenage girl and her family and friends
Why I Read It:
I’ve read a few books by Sandra Dallas but I heard good reviews of the audio version of this one so I decided to try the audio format.
From the publisher:
During World War II, a family finds life turned upside-down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes turn on the newcomers. Rennie has just turned thirteen and until this time, life has pretty much been predictable and fair. But the winds of change are coming, and with them, a shift in her perspective and a discovery of secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things. Part thriller, part historical novel, Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas is a riveting exploration of the darkest – and best – parts of the human heart.
This happened to be the third book in about a year for me that had the American internment of Japanese during World War II as part of the story. This was the first of those that was not told from the viewpoint of a Japanese character.
The story is told from Rennie’s point of view looking back as an adult. On one hand this story is about the murder of a young girl and the mystery of who her killed her. On the other hand that murder mystery often takes a background to the story of a small town during World War II that has the war brought home when the internment camp is built nearby.
As with other books I’ve read by Dallas, the story is primarily about the women. It’s about their roles, their struggles, their quiet strength and their relationships. The male characters are the ones to tend to move the action along but the women are the focus of the story.
At times it was a little too slow and the mystery of the murder trails out over a lengthy time period. Some of the secrets are rather predictable by the time they are revealed but nevertheless I liked the book.
As for the audio production, I had a difficult time at first because my previous experience listening to Lorelei King was with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Once I got the Stephanie Plum connections severed in my brain, I was able to hear how well King did with this story and the way she portrayed the characters in their proper time and place.
The edition I got from the library includes an interview by King with the author. I was struck by her story of when she had visited the location of the Amache internment camp in Colorado. This is the camp she used as the basis for Tallgrass. She described that the buildings were gone but the concrete foundations and roadways remained. That really struck me because it’s exactly what I saw when I visited the site of the Dachau Concentration camp in Germany.
Rating 3.5/5 for the book
Rating 4/5 for the narration
SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.