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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Mrs. Rossi’s Dream is a work of historical fiction set in and after the Vietnam War and was penned by author Khanh Ha. The titular character arrives in Vietnam during the 1980s, searching for her son, Nicola Rossi, who went missing during service as a lieutenant in the US Army. Mrs. Rossi travels with her daughter, an eighteen-year-old girl adopted in the Mekong Delta during the war, and here they meet Giang, a war veteran turned caretaker after a long stint in a reform prison. The lives of the living and the dead collide, and as Mrs. Rossi grows closer to discovering the truth of her son’s whereabouts, so her daughter grows closer to the gruff drifter and his secret, more sensitive side.
Author Khanh Ha brings both the beauty and tragedy of Vietnam to life in this sensitive and realistic portrayal of what goes on in wartime and how those left have to process the events and move on with their lives. Character development is the hinge on which this highly emotive plot rests, and the four central voices each have their moment to shine and reflect on the impact of war in the country they are exploring. Giang is perhaps the most interesting, breaking down his hardened exterior bit by bit to connect with someone new, and Catherine Rossi’s emotional progression was sensitively written but not over exaggerated. Overall, I would highly recommend Mrs. Rossi’s Dream as a must-read for fans of emotive drama and personal narrative fiction.