The Dynamite Room threw two odd characters together. Twelve year old Lydia had only just returned to her home in the English countryside during World War II when she discovered her family had abandoned it. Moments later, Heiden, a German soldier appeared and ordered her to remain in the home with him as he rummaged around the house. Each character’s backstory was told in depth as they attempted to co-exist in the tense situation. Lydia’s juvenile games with her brother and other youngsters explained her youthful approach to life and to the soldier. Lydia’s childhood games weren’t essential to the plot and didn’t help explain anything that was going on, but they did portray her as a vibrant and smart young woman. The Soldier’s background was full of gore, aggression, and even love. He was portrayed as a complex character, and that kept me guessing as to who he really was and what his purpose was in the home. The best thing about this book was the writing, more specifically, the word choice. Each sentence was bursting with language so descriptive that the sounds, smells, and feelings all came to life. The story was told with a strong narrative that had suspenseful undertones, and that heightened level of storytelling was present throughout the entire novel. Yet, there wasn’t much of a climax. I would call the big event more of a speed bump. With so much build up I expected more to happen. In that regard, the ending was not quite in line with the rest of the story and it felt disjointed to me.
I was really into this book as I was reading it, and would likely read another book by Hewitt just based on his incredibly vibrant writing.