Juleón "Jude" Tholet has survival in his DNA. His father, Cleon, lived through imprisonment and torture during Pinochet's military coup in Chile. His mother, Penny, risked everything to gain her husband's freedom and flee the country with their newborn son. But as a closeted gay teenager growing up in Vancouver, Jude is targeted by a neighborhood bully called El Cóndor, culminating in a vicious hate crime that forces the Tholets to flee their country again.Jude cautiously rebuilds his life in Seattle, becoming an accomplished pianist, but his his wings have been clipped and he cannot seem to soar in his relationships. Only family remains a constant source of strength and joy, until a DNA test reveals something that shocks all the Tholets: Jude is not their child.
Stunned by the test results, the Tholets must dig into their painful past, re-examine their lives in 1973 Santiago and the events surrounding Jude's birth story. It’s a tale rooted in South America’s Operation Condor. It spreads through Pinochet’s terrifying regime of detention camps, torture, disappeared civilians and stolen children. The journey forces Penny Tholet to confront the gaps in her memory while Cleon must re-live an ordeal he’s long kept hidden away in a secret world. The tale ends with Jude digging through his genetic code in a quest to find his biological parents. Are they alive? Or are they among Los Desaparecidos—the Disappeared Ones?
Suanne Laqueur’s third book in the Venery series explores the desperate acts of love made in times of war, and the many ways family can be defined.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I haven't been in a reading slump, per se, but it's been a while since a book has absorbed me, and the feeling was frankly overdue. To that end, this story consumed me completely. I read 75% of the book in one sitting last evening, and boy, do I have one hell of a (book) hangover as a result. As is typical for this author, the background research is impeccable and the interactions between the characters unique. It isn't a light read (*cough* understatement) but it isn't overly heavy either, thanks to a smattering of side characters and snide honesty that help to carry the load. This is, undoubtably, one of my top reads of the year. Using idiosyncrasies of language, song, brutal history, and family, Laqueur conveys a story that will stay with me for a long while. Five phenomenal stars.