Even though I have ten Christmas novels I should try and get reviewed by years’ end I picked up “Two Questions” by Danielle Murray. AND WOW. JUST WOW. My type of book, my favorite kind of reading. I love strong women’s fiction, even if the decisions they have to make some might not see as “feminism”. In the USA we tend to have an all our war every twenty-five, thirty years. In the last one hundred years that has led to a lot of war bride opportunities.
Let me back track a little for you, Let me introduce Meghan. She is perfectly fine in the ol’ US of A. But dang that cute guy is from New Zealand. The Bottom of the World as Meghan describes it. Thus she embarks on seeking advice from the women who before her who have swapped home lands. At first she doesn’t look to far. She starts with her mother who left her French-Canadian home to live in the US. Advice is given, often in letter form, and dear ma (Lucie) has strong opinions since she is an outsider who was raised by an outsider. Family secrets are admitted to also. Your grandma? She may not have been your gramps first choice. It very well could be that the love of his life didn’t speak the language and wouldn’t jump the pond. We are introduced to the cast of characters before chapter one, a summary of a family tree, going back a few war bride generations and then coming full circle to today’s women that met a handsome stranger and can take their time in deciding instead of the quick decisions previous women made.
I am a FIRM believer in a good review can tell you everything you need to know about whether or not it speaks of a book you would love to pick up and devour without spoilers. So there is now way in the world I’m going to tell you who’s advice Meghan takes and if she ends up at the bottom of the world.
Besides the strong female characters in Meghan’s life we are also educated on great wives of yore. Marie Antoinette, Tsarina Alexandra, Consuelo Vanderbilt, the woman behind Churchill, Lady Randolph, and Wallis Simpson, who must have wielded master skills in the power of persuasion. I must admit that being a pastor my side hobby has always been the customs of marriage and its ties with Religion, and customs of different countries. I was overly happy to see some of this knowledge shared in a current novel.
THERE are SO MANY great lines in this book. In a letter from Lucie, Meghan reads: “I say ‘foreign wife’ because in my experience, it is mainly the women who follow men and not the reverse. I think women pay a higher price for love, or are willing to.” More Lucie wisdom: “Do Not let yourself fall into a sliding door mentality and constantly analyze how your new life compares with the old.” “Depending on where you come from people have a preconceived notion about you, your personality, and your abilities.” (WOW)
AND last one I will share, my favorite: “you lose a bit of yourself when not speaking in your native tongue.”
Now you are wondering what are the two questions. Is it worth it? Would you do it again?
Keep in mind Marie Antoinette and Tsarina Alexandra suffered permanent homesickness and were killed. Ouch. I don’t think Meghan’s decision holds that much weight. But that is all I’m going to tell you.