I read this book with my book club for our January read. I actually listened to the audio. It is a book about a hostage situation that takes place in South America. It takes place in the home of the Vice-President of the country, where a Japanese business man has been invited to celebrate his birthday. A world famous opera singer has been invited to perform at the occasion. The event is taken over by terrorists. So we have a multi-culture, multi-gender hostage situation that takes place for several months in large home.
I believe the writing is eloquent and descriptive. Even quite beautiful at times. The beauty of the writing didn't seem to match the story. I don't know if I read this book at the wrong time in my life or what, but it didn't click for me. I wonder if listening to the audio changed my view of the story? For me the story was far fetched. I believe I am too sensitive in nature to turn a hostage situation into an event where true love can blossom. I believe the story could have happened with a stranded cruise ship on an island, or people stuck in an airport. I find it hard to believe that if I was held by gunpoint, in fear of my life, kept away from my family and friends, that I would have an open heart to love and acceptance of my captors. Since I have never been a hostage, I was unable to "step into the shoes" of the hostages that soon become "friends" with their captors. Even though I know there is a documented syndrome where this happens. Examples: (Patty Hearst and Jaycee Lee Dugard).
I didn't bond with the characters. Sometimes within a story, I can see little glimpse of myself in a character or at least relate. I couldn't seem to relate to these characters, and actually didn't even really care about the leading lady. It all seemed too casual and sugar-coated. The bad guys were not bad enough and the victims didn't act like victims. I did experience some enchantment from time to time. I was touched by a governess who stitched up the cheek of the Vice President. It was a moving scene that I found believable. The descriptive writing supported this scene well and I was moved.
I didn't hate the book but rarely found myself wanting to read on and to know more. The end seemed to be realistic and yet, not what I was wanting or expecting. That being said, it is definitely a book that I would say read for yourself and see if it takes hold for you. I have read numerous wonderful reviews. One of my book club members said it is one of her all time favorite books. She had a lot of wonderful points to share about the book. She found a lot of beauty in the everyday events of the story and life of the situation.