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The Nature of Small Birds #ourgoodlifebooklist

 Thank you, NetGalley for this free edition of the book, The Nature of Small Birds in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

I was so intrigued about the premise of this book that I had to get it and read it. It did not disappoint but read on to hear why.

The Story:

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy's desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he'll lose the daughter he's poured his heart into. Mindy's mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy's sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family--but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices, 
in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

My Take:

This is not my first Susie Finkbeiner book, having read All Manner of Things and the Stories that Bind Us.  I have enjoyed each book thoroughly so I was eager to read this new one by her.  It is told with three points of view yet it is easy to follow as she has carefully crafted each voice to be different from another. She writes descriptions like no one's business, which makes reading the text smooth and lyrical. I picked up the book, historical fiction of course because it was about a time I know well, the 70s, and I wanted to see how she portrayed the time. She puts you IN the time period, not just telling you all about it.

I was intrigued by the setting in Viet Nam. My uncle served there and I am immensely curious about the place, but don't want to ask him about it. I was hoping the book would tell me about the culture and let me learn about it, but that wasn't really the important part of the book.  I had heard of Babylift but didn't know much more than a one-minute news storyline that I heard in the 80s. I had hoped to learn more but again, that's not the story's main focus.

I enjoyed the sisters' relationship with each other and the dad's point of view in the story. I would have enjoyed learning Mihn's POV.

This book taught me to read what the author was telling me instead of me putting my wishes on the author. It was a good lesson and one that has taken me far too long to learn. 

About the Author:

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it's a congenital condition, one she's quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother's Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner's bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie's socks off). Pearl's story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She's a junkie. She couldn't quit if she wanted to.

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