I have been looking forward to sharing this review! I have to say, I fell in love.
Set in Tunisia and France in 1935, Dido’s Crown is a taut literary-historical adventure influenced by Indiana Jones, The Thin Man, and John le Carré.
Mary Wilson MacPherson has always been adept at putting the past behind her: her father’s death, her sister’s disappearance, and her complicated relationship with childhood friends Tom and Will. But that all changes when, traveling to North Africa on business for her husband, Mary meets a handsome French-Tunisian trader who holds a mysterious package her husband has purchased — a package which has drawn the interest not only of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, but the Nazis as well.
When Tom and Will arrive in Tunisia, Mary suddenly finds herself on a race across the mesmerizing and ever-changing landscapes of the country, to the shores of southern France, and all across the wide blue Mediterranean. Despite her best efforts at distancing herself from her husband’s world, Mary has become embroiled in a mystery that could threaten not only Tunisian and British security in the dangerous political landscape of 1935, but Mary’s beliefs about her past and the security of her own future.
There is only one way to describe this book: Indiana Jones meets Casablanca. Rose’s sweeping use of language whisks the reader into the beautiful yet dangerous pre-world war 2 Tunisia and then to the beautiful French countryside. As a reader I can attest to the fact that it’s a book that is easy to get lost in. I swear I started reading at noon and five minutes later I was looking up from the book and it was time to go back to work.
I absolutely loved Mary. She is a sarcastic, strong, indubitably flawed and complex character that is true to the women of that era. Walking into this book I expected the story to be centered on Mary. However, this is more of an ensemble story. I openly gasped at each twist and turn. The sub-characters are specially crafted, each with their own flaws and complexities. I found myself rooting for all of the supporting characters in addition to Mary. Particularly Tom, Mary’s childhood sweetheart. Every character in the story was perfectly imperfect.
Just like the movies mentioned above this book it invokes the thrill and romance that is indicative of that time period.