Featured Book: In Sunlight and In Shadow

This post is a part of an original series created by librarians/media specialists across Central Minnesota featuring books. Please share your take on books you have read recently. If you have a book you would like to showcase, please send your review to our offices

Book cover2Title: In Sunlight and In Shadow, by Mark Helprin

Written by Maria Burnham, media specialist at Sauk Rapids Rice High School

This was my first experience reading anything by Mark Helprin. I was told his writing was lovely, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m the type of person who LOVES descriptive writing, and that’s just what I got in reading this novel. Lovely details, plenty of sensory notes, a nice balance of plot lines, and a set of characters to believe in. Set during post WWII in New York, Harry Copeland of the famous Copeland Leather Company, has returned home from war to run the family business. Upon arriving home, he meets and falls in love with Catherine, a well-to-do singer and actress of the New York stage. Theirs is a love story for the ages–hopeless, fearless, and intense. However, for Harry, though being in love has lifted his spirits, he now struggles with the mafia requiring payment for “protection” of the business. In an age of corruption and reconstruction, Harry is unsure how he will keep his father’s business and pride afloat while maintaining the steep payments due to the mob.

The novel beautifully blends the story of love, war, and courage through the perspective of the noble Harry, who continually works to do the right thing all the while following his heart.

I was entranced with the book. My only (minor) complaint would be the length of the book. 720 pages is significant, and by the end I was starting to get impatient for a conclusion. Otherwise, a beautiful story–one that ignites introspection and appreciation for life.