Many thanks to Random House Publishing and Ballantine Books, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!
I was so excited to read Playing with Fire. Seriously, over-the-top excited. And it did not disappoint. This book combines two of my favorite topics — music (specifically violin, which is near and dear to my heart since I am a violinist myself) and WWII.
I’ve read a few of the other reviews. Some say that the ending was too rushed for them to really rate this book super well. Some say that the alternating timelines, between Julia’s present-day story and Lorenzo’s life in 1944 — didn’t work that well for them.
I can see how some people may not like the ending. It did feel a bit rushed to me as well — still well-done, but it brought a lot of elements into the story rather suddenly that hadn’t been mentioned prior to the last 20% of the book or so. That being said, it worked well enough for me.
The actual story behind the piece of music that Julia found — Incendio — was chilling. Not in the way I had thought it would be, since from the beginning of the book the readers are almost tuned to be looking for supernatural stuff going on. I’ve read other books by Gerritsen, though, and was pretty sure that she probably wasn’t going to take that route. However, the explanation given at the end for what happened at the start of the book is a little unsatisfying, given how much of a build up there was to Incendio‘s story.
But even that can’t detract from my 5 star rating. I don’t know what it was, precisely, about Playing with Fire that I loved so much. But I loved it. It’s one of those books that I will happily rave about to anyone who is listening. Yes, be aware of the ending, it’s a bit rushed, but if you love music and love WWII history, then please read this!