August 19, 2011

Commune of Women by Suzane Still

Commune of Women is a dramatic thriller.

Seven women have been drawn into a web of terrorism as each of them arrive at Los Angeles International Airport. 

Heddie is a psycho-analyst who is traveling with one of her patients to pick up another from the airport.  She is calm, cool, collected and has been raised with a silver spoon in her mouth or so she wants everyone to believe.

Sophia is a natural born leader.  She is strong, caring, compassionate and knowledgeable.  She carries with her demons from her past when she was a medic during the Vietnam war.

Erika is a high profile business women with a vulgar attitude and vocabulary.  She believes everything and everyone should center around her and after she is shot, she is extremely irritated that her business world may come crashing down around her.

Pearl is a wizened bag lady who arrives at the airport because of friend of hers told her that the money was good.  She is one person who is bound to have everything one might need in order to survive, she's been doing it for a long time and knows what is needed in times of duress.  Her story is a sad one and yet she always seems to find something good in all that is around her.

Ondine is a neurotic free spirit whose has a terrible guilt over a past event she had no control over.  She is currently under Heddie's care and working through her demons.  She's coming out of a bad marriage and tends to run from the stresses in her life.

Betty is also one of Heddie's patients and she puts all her time and energy into plastic flowers arrangements that she is passionate about creating.  Her passion has driven a wedge between her and her family.  She doesn't see what she is doing wrong until her life is threatened and she realizes her values had been wrong all the time.

X is a militant who grew up in the Jafar camp in Palestine.  She comes from an area of the world where walls surround her country, checkpoints are needed to go through to leave and people are systematically killed.  To be a women in Palestine means you are bred of strength, determination and perseverance.  She is proud of the women in her life and feels she is just in her reasons why she is attacking the airport.  However, along the way she begins to see things in a new light and vows to correct all the wrongs that have ever happened to her.

Each of these women must survive four days while they are held in the airport, too afraid to leave their hiding place.  The six women have no idea where the terrorists are, why the FBI hasn't come for them yet nor how they are going to survive when their only food is to be found in an employee vending machine and bullet ridden soda!

Each of them delves into their inner psyche to find the demons that have haunted them in order to find the strength to survive.

This wasn't a bad read!  I truly enjoyed the women's characters, each one of them was written in a well-rounded manner and with believable back stories.  My favourite of the women was Sophia, a woman who listens to the world's weave and reacts to it instinctively.  She was very strong in character and belief.

I wasn't so fond of Ondine, I found her overly whiny and her maternal instincts were severely lacking.  Not that she was a badly written character, just out of them all, I'd have disliked her the least if I met them as they were written.

Many of the back stories shard were wonderfully written.  It was rather hard to read Pearl's for the first half of the book.  She has a very bad grammar syntax and it's written that way, however, just after halfway through the book, the author uses less of this inflection and she flows better with the story.  I just wished when she was telling her story the author had written with a little less syntax connotations.

The ending was a surprise and after you read it you will know that it truly peeved me, which is good but it wasn't what I had expected.  The ending was good but there were several things that didn't wrap up for me.  There are few minor characters who were introduced and added a huge part to the story and yet, we learn nothing about them.  And truthfully, I have no idea why Erica was even in the story, it would've worked better had she interacted more or not to have her written in at all.

As you can see there are good points about the story and there aren't.  I think with some tightening of some of the storylines, this would make for an excellent movie.  The terrorists roles would have to be beefed up, after they attack the airport, we don't even know their thoughts, reasons nor actions.  I think it would've been a plus if one of the women from the hostage situation could have been written in to give us that perspective.

All in all though, whence I started reading it, I wasn't able to put it down, so it will draw you in, even with these plot and character points.

On an ordinary Los Angeles morning, the lives of seven women are about to become inextricably entangled, as they converge upon LA International Airport for various purposes.

Suddenly, the morning erupts into chaos, as black-clad terrorists charge into the terminal, guns blazing. As the concourse becomes a killing field, six of the women dodge a hail of bullets to find refuge in a tiny staff room. Betty, a Reseda housewife, Heddi, a Jungian analyst, Sophia, a rugged and savvy mountain woman, Erika, a top-level executive, Ondine, an artist just returning from France, and Pearl, an ancient bag lady, all traumatized or injured, barricade the door and cower down, hoping to survive.

As four days drag by, their expectations of an early rescue dashed, the women find a way to dominate their panic and terror by telling their life stories. As their situation becomes increasingly grave, the women begin to reveal their most intimate secrets, as their stories descend deeper into the dark shadows of their lives–and they discover that part of survival is simply surviving one another.

At the same time, in a similar small room close by, the sole female terrorist, dubbed simply X by her so-called Brothers, has the task of watching a bank of surveillance monitors. Apparently forgotten by her co-conspirators, she nevertheless is the best informed of the happenings in the outside world--happenings that are not easily understood.

Why are the police and FBI so slow to respond? What has motivated this attack? Who are these terrorists and what do they want? And will the women survive to tell their tale? Answers to these questions slowly reveal the terrible web of conspiracy and deceit into which they all have fallen. But the most profound revelation of all is how each has betrayed herself.

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **

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