What it’s about:
Allana Harrison wanted out. She wanted to escape her painful, broken past and enjoy a fresh start somewhere else. Anywhere else. And while all of the boys in high school and college promised to deliver that dream, only one man actually pulled through.
Now a young adult, Allana finds herself on the opposite side of the world, in a prosperous and rich town that’s not only isolated from her past, but from the crime, grime and hustle of bigger cities, in a country where she doesn’t understand the language or know anybody else except her husband. And that’s how she likes it.
Until she meets Alex, another American who ends up being her only other friend, the one person who reminds her of what it’s like to feel desired, wanted and hungered for.
Except Alex has motives. And Alex has questions — about her husband’s work at the world’s most-advanced, leading-edge power station, questions he wants answered… and when Allana can no longer provide them, Alex threatens to reveal the secrets of their forbidden past, secrets that will destroy the man that saved her.
Caught between two men — one she loves and the other she can’t help but love — Allana must deliberate the role she plays in the moments leading to humankind’s greatest disaster… in 1986.
1986 by Morgan Parker is an entertaining suspense involving the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. If you like conspiracy theory or Cold War novels, 1986 is right up your alley.
Parker’s latest novel is a third person narrative about Allana, Vasy, and Alex’s involvement in instigating or trying to prevent the Chernobyl disaster (you’ll have to read the book to find out!). 1986 is not a romance, nor is it an erotic suspense; avid Morgan Parker readers might be surprised by the lack of sex! The plot is evenly paced, picking up in tension and drama only in the second half of the book. Since this is historical fiction, and readers know (hopefully) about the incident at Chernobyl, there is a sense of dread and foreboding that continues from the first page to the last.
I appreciated Parker’s limited number of characters. It was easier to focus on their actions and guess at their allegiances. The main character, Allana, is a young American who meets and marries Ukrainian MIT student, Vasy, and then follows him to Russia. She seems to love Vasy, but there is a constant reference to her desire to escape her seedy past. I could not find a reason to like Allana or to ever consider her a victim. She married to escape her past. She complains about her boredom from being a stranger in a strange land with a workaholic husband. She uses her boredom as an excuse to pursue an adulterous affair with Alex. I think readers are meant to sympathize with Allana and see her as a pawn in a major conspiracy, but she could have avoided that roll by making different choices. I would have to say that Vasy is the only character I liked, and I probably shouldn’t have liked him given some of his actions.
It is clear that Parker has thoroughly researched the Chernobyl incident as well as the general area of Pripyat. He paints a vivid picture of the bitter cold winters, the unreliability of everyday conveniences, as well as the gruesome aftermath of the nuclear disaster. Parker effectively planted the seed that Cold War conspiracies were behind many of the tragedies that happened in the 1980s. History, tragedy, and suspense combine to make 1986 an intriguing read.
About the author: Morgan Parker is the pen name for a shy and introverted former banker. Given the nature of his former career and his unique childhood upbringing in a trendy, white-collar town West of Toronto, Mr. Parker made up plenty of stories to stay employed and to avoid the responsibilities of adulthood. His novels are a product of those stories.
Mr. Parker believes that all great novels involve realistic characters, motives and love stories. He tries (really hard) to emulate his favorite authors while writing his own novels. He stresses that all of his tales and characters are fictional in nature and welcomes all kinds of feedback, even the worst kind, so that he might continue to develop and grow as an author.
When Mr. Parker isn’t writing, he likes to read and watch movies. As a serial napper, he has been known to convert corporate prayer rooms and quiet areas into common siesta zones. He believes in hibernation.
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