Saffire {Book Review}

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my full disclosure.)

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Saffire from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

It’s been a while since I sat down and read a book from cover to cover. I’ve sat here for about five minutes trying to figure out the last one I read for my personal pleasure and I’m drawing a blank. I have mom friends who talk about what books they’ve been reading and I look at them and think, “How the hell do you have time for reading?”

Honestly, I probably could read more if I didn’t opt to veg out in front of the TV after the kids go to bed. But my friends seem to find time for this too… I guess I need to start asking them to dish out some secrets!

I recently signed up for Blogging for Books, hoping that by having to write reviews it would get me reading stuff other than kids books and Facebook. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, which is why I chose Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer as my first read:

Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer

I reminded myself that once you start to defend someone, it’s difficult to find a place to stop. But I went ahead and took that first step anyway. . .

James Holt, a cowboy from the Dakotas, finds himself in Panama at the request of a rather important friend. There, he takes that first step to protect Saffire, a girl who reminds him a lot of his daughter back home. Asked to inquire about Saffire’s missing mother, Holt thought he would conclude his business within a few days. Instead, Holt is finds himself in a web of deceit and intrigue of a new generation of revolutionary politics — and in love with a Panamanian aristocrat.

When I started reading Saffire, I didn’t think I was going to get to the end because I had a hard time getting sucked into the book at first. The story begins with a letter from TB Miskimon, writing to inform his superior Colonel Goethals of his findings in an investigation concerning members of the police department smoking while in uniform. This was one of five letters by Miskimon in the book, and while they give us a glimpse into 1909 military conduct and what life was like in the Zone where the Panama Canal was being constructed, I felt these letters weren’t necessary and that Brouwer did a great job of that through Holt’s eyes and the conversations he had with the people he encounters on his mission. I think I would have rather read journal entries from Holt to his daughter back home.

It wasn’t until Holt found himself in a shack with a potato sack over his head that I felt the book picked up pace and had me wanting to turn the page to find out what would happen next. It was the second half of the book that I found hard to put down. As a result, I finished Saffire within a few days versus a few weeks (my normal track record).

Several characters in Saffire were based on actual people who worked in the Zone — like TB Miskimon. Brouwer definitely did his research and I came away learning a few things that weren’t discussed in history books at school.

Despite the slow start, I would definitely recommend Saffire to anyone who has an interest in the Panama Canal or early 1900’s history.Blogging_for_Books_Lockup_1a

About the Author (via Penguin Random House):

Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen novels with nearly three million copies in print. His recent novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.

What books have you read lately? Let us know in the comments!