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The Mirror of Diana: A Novel of War and Love

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I like WWII fiction but found this one disappointing.

    Are there a categories of books for "Harlequins for Men"? or for "Books That Would Make a So-So TV Movie"? If there are, this book would probably fall into them. I had read a glowing review or two about this one, and my interest was piqued when it became so difficult to find. I was thrilled when it finally popped up for me to purchase (at full price, mind you). Imagine my disappointment when it seemed to have about as much depth as a birdbath.

    The dialogue seemed too simplistic and the character development was lacking. I was stunned to discover that one of the characters (Rosanna) was almost twenty when she was depicted through dialogue as having the maturity of a thirteen year old. A nineteen year old, European woman during wartime would surely have more grit and smarts. I did manage to finish however. I credit Homer's technique of beginning with the end to help me accomplish reading the entire book although I was tempted many a time to skip to the few last pages.

    I believe if the author wrote from the perspective of Paolo--the museum curator--instead of Klaus this would have been a much better book. To be fair to the author, if I had a love of Roman mythology I might have appreciated this book more, but I do not and therefore the impact of Diana's story was lost on me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2006

    Stirring Evocative Story

    This is a magnificent tale told in stunning passion, and I agree with the reviewers who believe this could be turned into a beautiful movie. Set against a backdrop of Roman History in World War II, the ships of Caligula and the myths of Diana as well as the haunting characters take center stage, grab your heart and never let go. And the end of the story is handled with a masterful touch of literary suspense, even up to the last line. This novel, plus his second novel, 'The Sobs of Autumn's Voices' place A.R. Homer among the stars alongside Ken Follett for compelling story telling. I loved both books and highly recommend them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    A compelling war story, a poignant love story

    Klaus Schmidt ¿ a German artillery officer ¿ is the stereotype-smashing protagonist of this spellbinding novel. A former classics professor in civilian life, Klaus is forced to lock horns with his Nazi commander because of his desire to preserve archeological treasures, and, above all, because of his love for an Italian woman. The novel begins after the war, when Klaus returns to a small town south of Rome; he harbors conflicting emotions about what happened there during the war, about a secret he hopes has not been discovered¿ With expressive yet uncluttered writing, Homer takes the reader back to ¿43-44, where the main action develops. Klaus¿s unit has been posted to Rome as Mussolini is overthrown and the Allies threaten Sicily. Klaus enjoys the world¿s capital of antiquities before going to the museum which houses the fabulous ships of Caligula. There he befriends Paolo, the museum¿s curator, with whose daughter, Rosanna, he falls in love. Later, as the Germans impose a harsh regime and the Allies land at Anzio, these simple human acts of intellectual curiosity, friendship, and love will bring down a torrent of trials on them all as events coalesce to create the perfect dramatic storm. Basing his book on an actual event ¿ the burning of Caligula¿s ships in 1944 ¿ Homer weaves his story around some fascinating historical and archaeological background. His riveting tale evokes the butterfly on the battlefield: the dangerous love between Klaus and Rosanna seems doomed by the horrors surrounding them, personified by the vile Nazi commander seeking to destroy everything Klaus holds dear. The book¿s unpredictable plot twists kept me up one night; my wife adored the bittersweet love story. We both enjoyed the minor characters, all of whom are sensitively drawn. It is a tale skillfully told, and not one to be missed.

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