I am very excited to share my latest book with y’all! This week, I tackled Pam Jenoff’s The Ambassador’s Daughter and I loved it.
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The story follows Margot Rosenthal, a 20-year-old German girl who is muddling her way through life immediately following the end of World War One. Her father, an academic, has been given the temporary title as “ambassador” by Margo’s uncle, a wealthy man who is deeply entrenched in the German’s military strategies. Along with her father, they spend most of the book in Paris and Versailles as global powers determine treaty guidelines.
While there, Margot meets a variety of people–a seemingly dangerous Ukrainian barman, an alluring Polish pianist, and a handsome German naval officer–who ultimately turn her rather pedestrian life upside down. However, this change in pace is exactly what Margot needs because she is a restless soul who wants more from life, but feels trapped by others’ and society’s expectations. Ultimately, between meeting new people and trying to find some semblance of freedom, Margot is in over her head.
This book really does have it all:
- Political strategy
- Finding one’s purpose or even place in life
- and so much more
It was riveting to see Margot develop from a young, naïve girl who strives to please everyone to someone who finally fights for what she wants. Of course, there were many emotional ups and downs while reading, especially in regard to her romance with the naval officer and her somewhat secret relationship with her childhood love.
In fact, there were a couple of times where I became so frustrated with Margot because her girlish inner conflict between “true love” and caring for her fiance was exhausting. It is so clear to readers that she doesn’t want to be with her fiance, that she shouldn’t. It’s equally clear that she craves independence and more from life. So, it was a little annoying to read her same inner argument for a good chunk of the book.
That said, I did enjoy the plot overall, I thought it was really interesting to see how political workings, espionage, and blackmail came about, especially after reading about the real life spy-work of the early 20th century. I thought those storylines were a really good addition to your otherwise classic historical romane. Additionally, I thought the characters were very well written and developed. Even if Margot was a little annoying at times, I think she was a very relatable,realistic character.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and/or romance stories. I think it’s very relatable to younger women or even girls, especially since Margo is trying to figure out who she loves and if it’s worth it to pursue the relationship. In fact, it’s somewhat relatable for any young person who is trying to figure out where they fit in the world, and how to find independence. Overall, I’d say it’s a very modern story, but within a historical context.
That’s all I have for this week! Please feel free to leave any recommendations for future books. Be sure to look out for next week’s post on Kitty Zeldis’ Not Our Kind!