Reviewed by Janet J for Readers' Favorite
"An Affinity for Shadows" by Liz R. Newman centers on the life of Kate Theodore, a talented and focused broadcast journalist who has made it to the top, only to find that office politics as well as national events may force her out of her hard-won job in the cutthroat world of TV news.
She witnesses and reports live at the Twin Towers on 9/11, at great risk to herself and her cameraman, but remains ever the professional. 9/11 does take a toll on her personally, though, and she begins to evaluate what is truly important in her life. She comes up short when it comes to family. And love.
Kate is a strong, independent and resilient character and wants to be a loyal friend, if only work didn't keep her so busy . . . yet a look into her background and family roots gives the reader insight into why she is afraid to need people and to be needed in return.
Enter Sal, an oh-so-handsome Italian man Kate meets by chance in New York and then again when she takes a rare vacation to Italy. Their relationship is plagued with personal and cultural misunderstandings and also complicated by translation difficulties on the part of those around them, as well as two surprise visitors from the USA who find they can't do without Kate even for two weeks. Her compassionate side and her ability to enjoy life begin to blossom under the gentle Italian sun, and she is able to put her life into perspective.
I enjoyed this well-written book and recommend it for a general audience. There are no offensive elements in it. I appreciated the insights the author gave into the lives of those directly affected by 9/11, and how many survivors of all kinds of disasters move "From Tragedy to Triumph," the title of a new show Kate pitches to her network - to feature strength and hope as a journalist, rather than presenting only the negative side of the news.
The plot moves well and the characters are believable. Newman makes them sympathetic as well. Occasional moments of humor allow the reader to see that though Kate takes herself very seriously, she can also laugh at herself. In view of some of the personal calamities she experiences, that's a very good thing.
"Now in New York, in the aftermath of the greatest tragedy the city had ever seen, love would spring eternal, as in the city of Rome. The light would shine again. For the bright light of love cannot be basked in and esteemed, unless first glimpsed from within the darkness of the shadows," she concludes at the end.
After reading this book I wanted to pack my bags - first to visit New York, an incredible city in any season, and then on to Italy, to find that very special villa and its handsome gardener, and to enjoy the splendid food described so vividly in "An Affinity for Shadows."