Cry of the Phoenix

Written by Jane Dater
Review by L.K. Mason

Shortly after the end of World War II, on a small island off the coast of Wales, a reclusive man claiming to be a minister is murdered. Katya, a young Polish woman, is brought to trial. Was it self-defence or an act of vengeance tied to horrible events from the past? The novel jumps around frequently when a simple chronology would suffice. The writing, though earnest, often feels unpolished. In particular, the two first-person narrators, Katya and Robert, another young person on the island with his own secrets, did not have distinct voices. The scenes between Katya and Aaron (her former employer), Katya and her family, and those set in Auschwitz show greater promise. I wish the genuine feelings evoked in these portions of the book had carried on throughout.