Coyne displays in his previous twenty plus books culminate in this novel in a very satisfying way. He very skillfully takes to the land of Ethiopia during the reign of Hale Selassie, just prior to the demise of the empire at the hands of Mengistu and the dergue. He reveals life from the viewpoint of young people on their own, many for the first time, ten thousand miles from home in a magical African land. He reveals the intensity of relationships formed by this experience. Relationships that endure across the decades.
This novel does not just take place in Ethiopia/ rather Ethiopia is a well-developed, and beloved character that is about to be ravaged, and is living on the edge of that knowledge. There is a sense of urgency created by this tension.
The novel shifts between modern times when Parker Bishop is a recent widower who is startled from his grief into memory when a book from the past suddenly appears at his bookshop in a sleepy New York state suburb and brings back thoughts of who he was and whom he loved “long ago and far away.” He then begins to put together who he was with whom he has become as he sees Irish McCann again for the first time in decades. Together they begin to solve a mystery that had caused them to go their separate ways, so many years, a lifetime ago.
This book has intrigue and romance along with history. It is rich in imagery that gives readers a view of the majesty of Ethiopia and introduces us to characters that are developed into people we care about and know and forgive. I envy those who are reading
Long Ago and Far Away for the first time. I am reading it again and longing for the sequel.