The Wonderful

Flatiron: Macmillan. 2019. 400p. ISBN 9781250083517. pap. $16.99. F
Hedy Delaney knew she would miss Iowa when her father was reassigned to an English air base, but she had no idea how much. It’s 1957, the height of the Cold War, and Todd Delaney, bomber pilot and World War II hero, is selected by his former copilot for a secret project. Hedy, her mother, Ruby, and her vulnerable twin, Christopher, who’s trapped in a Milwaukee brace owing to his scoliosis, do their best to readjust, yet from the moment the family arrives, everything seems off until one horrible day their world falls apart. Hedy is left alone, packed off to an uncle she’s never met and his forbidding, isolated farm in Norfolk. Her only connection to her family and former life is Christopher’s stories, which raise as many questions as they keep memories alive. The one human link to the past is Hank, her father’s former buddy whose connection eventually leads to horrifying answers to questions she is not even sure were real.
VERDICT Sarginson’s (The Stranger) darkly atmospheric style evokes the mystery and tension at the heart of the Cold War, appealing to enthusiasts of Richard Condon’s The Manchurian Candidate and other Cold War–era thrillers.
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