Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders was on my Top 10 list from last year. Absolutely fantastic. She won the Pulitzer with March, which I've not read yet, and she is going strong with her newest, People of the Book.
The novel follows the trail of a 500-year-old Sarajevo Haggadah, going backwards on its journey from wartorn Sarajevo to its creation, in the 1400s. Each section tells the tale of that century's holder of the Haggadah, people of various faiths who risked their reputations and lives to save the precious book from wars, book burnings, and neglect. Each of those sections was interspersed with the story of Hanna, a rare-book expert who is commissioned to restore the manuscript.
Brooks is a superb writer, and the story was fascinating. Each section is a world of its own, and the reader is easily transported to that time period and caught up in that character's story. And with each section, I was left wishing I could read a whole novel about that particular story. I wasn't nearly as entranced by Hanna's contemporary story as I was by the other sections, but it worked well as a whole.
I should have read this book faster, as I did keep losing track of whose story was being told. That has nothing to do with Brooks' writing but a suggestion that you might want to have a clear head when reading this book (i.e., my before-bed reading time did not do this book justice). My only niggling complaint with this book is that its style closely mimics The Girl in Hyacinth Blue (my review here), a lovely novel by Susan Vreeland. The style is so similar that I at first felt gypped, like, "Hey, I've already been here before!" I realize that this is probably a fairly common novel technique (although as a voracious reader, I have to say I've only encountered it in these two novels and in Hitty: Her First Hundred Years) but somehow it bugged me that Brooks used the same pattern as Vreeland. Silly, I know.
Ignore my one little peeve, and read the book.