Searching for Eternity by Elizabeth Musser

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There are two types of excellent books. One type you enjoy thoroughly and finish with a little regret as you bid the characters farewell. The other type grows on you bit by bit as you read and you close the book with contemplative satisfaction, knowing the characters will live with you forever.

Searching for Eternity is the latter book.

Emile de Bonnery enters a strange world when his mother drags him from France to America. Plagued by his French father’s disappearance and unfriendly Atlanta peers, the only welcome comes from the grandmother who disowned his mother. And then he meets Eternity.

Eternity is also the odd one out, and she initially meets Emile’s overtures with coldness, but eventually they strike up a friendship. Together they begin to unravel the secrets behind what happened in France and to weather their current struggles.

Beginning in the 1960s, this novel tumbles into a sea of unrest that amplifies the scars left from World War II – as if Atlanta during the civil rights movement didn’t have enough turmoil of its own! But showy displays of heroism are not to be found. It’s the little things – standing up for truth and speaking out when no one else will – that show how heroic these characters were. Instead of a panorama of history, you experience it through the everyday lives and choices of Musser’s characters.

The story isn’t compressed into a neat six-month tales, but realistically shows messy, complicated lives and slow change. Yet the pace of the novel doesn’t drag. It’s like a meteor shower – every chapter brings new discoveries and wonder. The graceful prose matches the tale well. Highly recommended.

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