The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

A Novel

Rachman, Tom

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Rise & Fall of Great Powers
Taken from home as a girl, Tooly found herself spirited away by a group of seductive outsiders, implicated in capers from Asia to Europe to the United States. But who were her abductors? Why did they take her? What did they really want? Now the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, Tooly conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. Then startling news arrives from a long-lost boyfriend in New York, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search of answers. Enduring life in an isolated bookstore on the Welsh countryside, young American woman Tooly reflects on her childhood under the care of bandits before a long-lost boyfriend offers clues to help her with unanswered questions.

Publisher: New York :, The Dial Press,, [2014]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 0679643656
Characteristics: 380 pages ;,25 cm


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Jan 27, 2015
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This novel is somewhat of a mystery, revealed in alternating time periods and locations. It has a slow beginning, good middle, and disappointing, feel-good ending.

Dec 12, 2014
  • josh2112 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book, in a grey, sad kind of way, highly recommend it, but not if you are already a bit down.
The characters are brilliant and one starts off loving them and then sees the other side, the author does a wonderful job of moving our vision of them from light to dark and then redeeming others. I cried at several points. Then main character is damaged, but arent we all, some in more interesting ways then others, hers was interesting and finally not as tragic as it could have been.

Nov 25, 2014
  • toby65 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Loved Rachman's first novel "The imperfectionists"
However, I found this new novel tough going with all the back and forth of time. Hard to keep track. Hard to care about Tooly.

Although this book has received rave reviews, I struggled to be bothered finishing it.

Nov 14, 2014
  • mmjeffers rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A great book, my favorite read of 2014.

Oct 08, 2014
  • chapelhill_natasha rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Fascinating and intriguing, part literary novel and part mystery. Interesting characters.

Aug 19, 2014
  • alexica rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I liked "The Imperfectionists" and so read "The Rise and Fall". Unfortunately, it was not a satisfying read for me. At no point did I really care for any of the characters or what happened to them and they mostly were a pretty grisly group. One of the reviews uses the word strange and the book is that. Another calls the main character, "humane." I don't think I would agree with that. She's basically damaged and acts accordingly until the end when she tries to rectify her actions. It would seem that she would have caught on much sooner and become a "humane" person. It might be the kind of book someone would write if they were in mourning for the death of a loved one, perhaps a sister.


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