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Hearing . . . The Sound of Red Returning,
This review is from: The Sound of Red Returning: A Novel (Red Returning Trilogy) (Paperback)
Liesl Bower is a headstrong, self-absorbed, world-reknowned concert pianist who's used to shutting people out of her life. With a scarred family history, the young woman has tried to forget her Harvard mentor's murder and the CIA's disclosure of his traitorious relationship with the Russians. When those investigating decided Liesl knew nothing of his spying, she continued her life of esteemed status and performances. However, one night in the audience a familiar face resurrects the terror of that murder and sets the course for a new wave of CIA interest in her life and mandatory protection.
Ava, the gruff but patient 50ish woman assigned to guard Liesl, enforces all the things that must happen to keep Liesl safe in spite of Liesl's incessant whining and complaining. The US government figures out that Liesl must unknowingly be in possession of something her mentor passed along to her, something the Russians need to recover in order to accomplish something horrific. Unable to disclose the severity of what they know, Ava must implore Liesl to cooperate while avoiding her home in Georgetown, which has been ransacked, to investigate her childhood home in Charleston where her grandmother Lottie now resides in a nursing home fading in and out of lucidity.
Charleston proves interesting when the renters of the basement apartment in Liesl's home end up accompanying Liesl, Ava, and another agent to the hopefully secret dwelling of an additional home in Liesl's family history. From there this group continues to search for this critical item while being pursued.
If you have a hard time warming up to a headstrong woman who can't seem to grasp the seriousness of the CIA's involvement in her life, in spite of having a personal aide to the president as a close friend, then you might have a hard time with Liesl - as I did. In this day and age it strikes me as somewhat unbelievable that a pianist could possibly think under these circumstances she can take of herself.
The romance in this novel is slow-brewed with the initial resistance and barriers but comes to a logical - and expected - conclusion.
If you're picky about the use of adverbs, Sue's writing might get in your way. The faith aspects of the story build and use the independent and often petulant behavior and attitudes of Liesl as a springboard for themes of healing and forgiveness.
The two twists at the end give both a restorative touch and an interesting conclusion to the story. The Sound of Red Returning by Sue Duffy meshes espionage, the threat of terrorism, the damages of torn apart families, courage, and relationship building and restoration.