Title: The Silver Music Box
Author: Mina Baites
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When I read the blurb on the back of The Silver Music Box I expected a story that jumped between the past and the 'present'. Initially I was disappointed that this is not how the story is written.
Usually organization of material is only relevant in non-fiction; however, Mina Baites has made it relevant in this book. The blurb will lead you to believe that you will be reading the story of a woman discovering her heritage for half the book. While technically you do read Lillian's heritage story; however, it's very misleading as that portion of the story is only the last 70 or so pages. I would have much preferred to read up to a point when many of our characters are separated in WWII, or Lillian is dropped at the orphanage (not a spoiler it's in the blurb). Then a second book could have been Lillian's story that discusses her origination and eventually ties her to our previous characters.
I adored the main story and the way it was set-up to focus on chunks of time that are relevant. There are points where it may skip many years but it never felt like I missed out on anything important.
Additionally the main story is where the true value and morale behind the story of The Silver Music Box is pointed to. That morale is that: while events that may seem innocuous in the past they can become the reason something happens in the future. Baites shows us that karma is indeed true and that if you give something positive to someone you will receive positive back (albeit might take 30 years, lol).
The End Story
I'm calling the end story the portion where we move forward rapidly in time and find out the fate of our characters from the eyes of Lillian (the orphan). Instead of telling us the full story in the main story line we are instead told the ultimate outcome of our main characters as it it is told to Lillian, who is searching for answers about the music box.
I found this to be very unsatisfying. I had no vested interest in Lillian and just wanted to go back to the POV's that I loved. That of Paul, Lotte, etc. And while some of our characters do tell their own story to our future gal it's not near as satisfying as if I had read it in order and from their viewpoint like the rest of the book is written.
I loved the first approx. 350 pages. The transition over to the orphan in the future seemed unnecessary and annoying. Almost like Baites was told to quickly wrap things up and so to do that she rushes the last of the story in to a flashback.
I will certainly pick up Baites again. I really did love 75% or more of the book. I also adored the way a series of events created causality in the future. Karma can be a powerful thing and so Baites clearly illustrates that if you give to others they will (eventually) give back unto you or yours.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.