CLSC Book Nine: A Fierce Radiance

I liked Lauren Belfer’s first book, City of Light, so I was really looking forward to getting my hands on her second novel, A Fierce Radiance.  Lucky for me — the other day I was at my local library and I picked up a copy.  And while I can’t say that I enjoyed this book as much as City of Light, I can say it was an intriguing read.

A Fierce Radiance begins during the days that follow the attack on Pearl Harbor and takes the reader into the world of American medicine — more specifically the world of an experimental medicine called…penicillin! The main character is a woman named Claire Shipley, a single mother who is divorced in a time when divorce was taboo.  She is also a career woman, more specifically, a photographer for Life magazine, assigned to cover the breaking stories surrounding the new “miracle” drug of penicillin.

The story then escalates into a mystery when a renowned scientist is murdered, and Claire finds herself trapped in danger and confusion, especially when she reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a doctor who is searching for the cure that could save millions of American soldiers’ lives.

While I didn’t especially enjoy the love story thrown into the book, I did learn a lot about this time period.  My father served in WW II and my mother was a teenager during the war.  So many things that happened in this novel echo stories my mother used to tell me.  When I finished the book, I couldn’t help think about how far we have come with American medicine.  And how far we have yet to go.


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