Author: JOANNE DAHME
Genre: HISTORICAL FICTION
Published: September 2010, RUNNING PRESS KIDS
I received this book for review, from Star Book Tours
A young woman named Rose strives to rid Philadelphia’s water of the deadly typhoid bacteria. Set in the late 19th century, Rose Dugan is a young wife who is actively involved in her community. But when her best friend is killed while working at Philadelphia’s Water Works' gardens, the mystery around her death pulls Rose in. Will she save the city from a deadly typhoid outbreak that is threatening the city’s water system? Will Rose unravel the mystery behind her best friend’s murder—a fate that was actually meant for her?
CONTAGION is full of interesting characters that inhabit historical Philadelphia on the precipice of a typhoid outbreak. Even though the story is seen in alternating chapters, through the eyes of Rose Dugan and Sean Parker, it's not just their personalities and viewpoints that are expressed throughout the book. Rose's husband, Patrick is an almost overwhelming character, in terms of his attitude and influence. I felt that even Rose's friend, Nellie Murphy, had distinctive characterization, for the brief time that she appears in the book.
Perhaps because of the historical setting, I felt that there was a lyrical aspect to the language in CONTAGION. I have encountered this in novels that have a contemporary setting (MAGGIE STIEFVATER!), but Joanne Dahme clearly has her finger on the right ebb and flow of the English language during this time, as well as the rhythm of the inner dialogue of her characters.
And, that comes to the heart of my feelings while reading CONTAGION. There was a flow to the book, almost like a body of water. Almost like the Schuylkill River, that plays such a big part within the pages, in the debate about filtration and disease. There were times that I read it slowly, savoring every word. There were times that I sped through the pages, anxious to see what was going to happen next. But always, I was entranced by the story and its ultimate outcome.
4/5 for plot
4/5 for characters
4/5 for language
My Rating: 12/15
Highly Recommend, if you liked:
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly