Dreamers of the Day

Mary Doria Russell, Author . Random $25.95 (253p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6471-7

Russell's enjoyable latest historical is told in the exuberant, posthumous voice (yes, it's narrated from the afterlife) of Agnes Shanklin, a 38-year-old schoolteacher from Cedar Glen, a town near Cleveland, Ohio. After the influenza epidemic of 1919 strikes down Agnes's family, a childless and unmarried Agnes settles the family estate, acquires financial independence and adopts an affable dachshund named Rosie. Accompanied by Rosie, Agnes travels to Cairo during the Cairo Peace Conference, where she befriends Winston Churchill and Lawrence of Arabia among other historical heavy hitters. She also falls in love with the charismatic Karl Weilbacher, a German spy whose interest in Agnes may have less to do with romance than Agnes will allow herself to believe. Agnes's travelogues, while marvelously detailed, distract from the increasingly tense romantic play between Agnes and Karl. When a more worldly-wise Agnes returns home, her life—first as an investor wrecked by the Depression and then a librarian until her death in 1957—remains low-keyed. Though the bizarre, whimsical ending doesn't quite gel, Russell (The Sparrow ; A Thread of Grace ) has created an instantly likable heroine whose unlikely adventures will keep readers hooked to the end. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 11/05/2007
Release date: 03/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 378 pages - 978-0-552-77485-7
Hardcover - 485 pages - 978-1-4104-0709-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4159-4576-6
Paperback - 270 pages - 978-0-345-48555-7
Compact Disc - 5 pages - 978-0-7393-5839-9
Open Ebook - 206 pages - 978-1-58836-675-7
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4070-3773-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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