Monday, June 15, 2020

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy


woman with earrings, India
A Mosaic of Wings


A respected, fellow writer and friend recommended I check out this book, and I’m so glad I did!

Let’s begin with the summary:


It's 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she's graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father's footsteps by getting her master's degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father's legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn't what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India
and of Owenfall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices
between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she's always thought she wanted and the man she's come to love.

And now, my review:

I appreciated Kimberly’s approach to this historical. She addressed timely themes, like the value of women—our intellect, our dreams/aspirations, our purpose, our careers, our lives and life choices.

Entomology is an interesting choice for the heroine’s/main character’s field of study. We never stray from her POV, and sometimes it’s rather buggy. But very interesting. From the author’s letter we learn her daughter inspired her choice of writing about the study of bugs, and that the author had to overcome some creepy-crawlies in order to make her heroine’s passion come to life. That aspect is very well done, without being graphic. She draws readers into the fascination.

The author includes humor, and I chuckled a few times. Her prose sang in several places, though I did find the dreaded “couldn’t help but” a few times. The romance is well done, but that thread doesn't overpower this heroine's growth, career path, and calling pursuit.

Oh, this heroine! So strong and outspoken—one of my favorite MCs in a long time. She understands, thanks to the love of her father, how valuable she is as God’s creation, as a person with her own calling and interests. She’s a thinker first, so she’s not stereotypical. I loved her snappy comebacks and her well-thought-through arguments. My favorite lines:

"She held herself erect, secure in the knowledge that she was Nora Beatrice Shipley and deserved (this man's) respect. He might not be willing to give it. But she wouldn't settle for anything less than what her father had demanded for her." (page 105)

I liked that she risked her career and her life to help someone in desperate need. Her courage, intelligence, and sacrifice, coupled with her flaws and growth, made her a well-drawn character whom readers will long remember.

Great research! We visited India in the story—exotic and intriguing. Well done!

And so many bugs, mostly butterflies, so I wasn’t too creeped out. 😉

Overall, an insightful, delicious read. A standout this year!

Highly recommended.