The first book that I read by Geraldine Brooks, March, stunned me. I thought it was magnificent. So when I read about People of the Book, not only did it sound like an interesting premise, but I was hoping that it was as well written as March. I was not disappointed.
The story follows two lines, one that of book expert and restorer, Hanna, and the other that of the book that she is given to work on. Hanna goes through her job of restoring the book so that it can be put on display in a museum, but she also takes samples of some of the things she finds in the old book bindings, or on the pages. She then continues to analyze these samples. As her story moves forward, we move back in time with the book, discovering where each of these pieces came from, and how they changed the book itself.
People of the Book is beautiful, touching, and memorable in its detailed richness. Every piece of history, whether it be a book, work of art, or family heirloom (or all three) touches so many people, we can never know its full story. Following this book's history is a journey. Brooks does a tremendous job researching the various time periods that she describes. As in March, the history is part of what makes the story so fascinating, and she does not cheat her reader on any of it. People of the Book is an amazing story, and puts Brooks squarely on my list of favorite authors forever.