Most helpful positive review
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A Wondeful Read
on July 10, 2011
I didn't know anything about this novel before I bought it and was not familiar with Ann Patchett.
Set in the Amazon, Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, finds herself on a remarkable quest. She is looking for Dr. Annick Swenson, who has been working in the Amazon on a valuable new drug for years. The company is unable to gauge her progress and so first sends Marina's colleague, Anders Eckman, to find Dr. Swenson. He dies under mysterious circumstances so Marina is sent to see what she can find out about Anders' death and Dr. Swenson's research.
From there the story takes many twists and turns. Marina gets sidetracked by a young Australian couple who is protecting Dr. Swenson, but eventually she does get to the research station in the jungle. Dr. Swenson, can be ruthless, but also strong and principled. While discovering a tree whose bark could lead to increased fertility in women, she stumbles upon another cure - one which she is protecting - even from the pharmaceutical company she works for because she fears they will not want to develop it.
I really felt like I was in the Amazon while reading this book. I loved all the characters, who are often drawn with great honesty and affection.
I thought the book was amazing and now I am going back and reading all of Patchett that I can get my hands on. I'm 70 pages into Bel Canto and loving it.