Alyson Richman is an author that I have had on my radar for quite a while now. She’s written a number of historical fiction books that I have been just dying to read—The Velvet Hours and The Lost Wife, I am looking at you!
But for some reason, I have just not picked up either of them. I am not really sure why, but I just know that I see her name and I am like ugh, I need to read something by her!
She when The Secret Clouds arrived in my mailbox, I was thrilled to read something by her. However, it looked like it was more of a contemporary book rather than historical fiction, which was kind of a bummer for me, but I was happy to at least give her writing a try and see how the book went!
Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her — until she needs that strength the most…
A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart (summary from Goodreads).
Right out of the gate, this book got me in all the feels! As the parent of a little boy, reading this story was so emotional because Yuri was a sick kid and my momma heart just hurt for him. I’m not kidding, read this one with tissues close by! Also I am an educator so this book just got me not only in my momma heart, but in my teacher heart too—so many feels!
This book isn’t really what I would call historical fiction, it does have plot points in the 1980s and 1990s so for me that isn’t ‘historical’ but other might feel differently. I enjoyed the alternating story and timelines in this book. I personally felt so much more invested in the Katya and Sasha’s story rather than Maggie’s, but that was just my own preference. I just identified with them more.
The story at times was predictable and sometimes the characters just seemed one dimensional, but I loved how much they resonated with me all the same. I understand that this book was meant to be dedicated to the teachers who helped shape the authors life, and I felt that she did the teaching community justice in her appreciation.
I personally enjoyed this book and was emotional invested in it throughout the story, even if it was a little predictable with some basic characters, I still found a lot to love here!