Review: ‘Caroline, or Change’ Makes History’s Heartbreak Sing

Caroline, or Change: Making History’s Heartbreak Sing is Caroline Rothenberg’s captivating debut as an author. Arriving at the end of her peregrine falcon incubation cycle, she goes missing. Her mother finds her and teams up with others to find her and keep her alive. (Spoiler alert: good-bye Carol.) It is a story about grief, resilience and the power of love over everything else.

Review: ‘Caroline, or Change’ Makes History’s Heartbreak Sing

Rothenberg’s voice is strong and she knows how to write a good cliffhanger. But what redeems this very suspenseful book is the unique perspective it offers to the falcon. The story delves deep into a particular species, why they do what they do and how they react when paired and apart. This story will keep you guessing even after the final pages.

I Loved This Book from Beginning to End.

The story was original and gave me lots of insight. It added understanding to a variety of issues I have often seen treated in light of science fiction, such as divine intervention, communication between the dead and their loved ones and ethics of animal sacrifice and interspecies relationships.

There were many parts that I didn’t know, like how family members can even replace missing loved ones, and that raptors cannot fly after death, but can still communicate by beating their wings. These facts were fascinating but the fact that they applied to falcons specifically took my breath away. How did they become so adept at flying despite dying within the hearts of their progeny?

I enjoyed every moment. There were moments of heartbreak that went uncharacteristically natural, such as when her mother was being attacked by angry hunters; her daughter would get information fast enough to “save her”. I laughed at the son, a pitcher of science and technology, who finally understood why his mum was being abandoned in the fields by a girl that looked like a day care teacher who fed him at the sight of a live falcon on the hoof.

Last Words

Caroline, or Change comes with the ingredients you expect from an author. There is an exciting romance; great dialogue; and, being a young adult book, there are moments of melodrama and events that all fit neatly into a neatly constructed story. If you’re a fan of romance, historical fiction or bird studies, this is a book you will find very enjoyable.

For more information on Caroline, or Change, and Carole, or Change Make History’s Heartbreak Sing.